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These options ideas are smart ‘stock replacements’ during earnings, Goldman says

Investors looking to bet on a stock rebounding after an earnings report may want to consider call options instead, according to Goldman Sachs. The firm’s derivatives research team, led by Vishal Vivek, said in a note to clients Wednesday that calls could be a smart way to gain exposure to underperforming stocks during the earnings season. A call option gives its holder the ability to buy a stock at a pre-set strike price. If a stock’s market price rises above its strike price, a call option lets the investor buy in at a discount. Call options can serve as a “stock replacement” because they have limited risk compared to owning a stock outright. If a company reports disappointing earnings and its stock price falls, an investor using call options loses only the premium paid to purchase the derivative contract. Goldman identified several stocks where the firm’s analysts are bullish on the stock and where the options environment looks attractive. “We focus on stocks with liquid options, where Goldman Sachs covering are Buy rated on the stock, and see upside to consensus estimates. Our methodology identifies names which have underperformed the S & P 500 during the past three months, a period of high realized correlation where macro factors have largely overshadowed idiosyncratic drivers of volatility in stocks,” the note said. One notable name on the list is industrial giant General Electric . The company’s stock has been on an uptrend over the past week, but it is still down more than 27% for the year. GE has beaten earnings estimates in five straight quarters, according to FactSet, though its stock has fallen after three of those reports. Meta Platforms is another name on the list, and the social media stock could benefit from reporting later than its peers. Social media stocks were under pressure on Friday after disappointing reports from Twitter and Snap stoked concern about the digital advertising market. Meta gave up most of its gains for the week on Friday, but the company will get a chance for a rebound when it reports earnings on July 27. Meta is joined on the list by fellow tech giant Amazon . Shares of the e-commerce and cloud company took a big hit after its last report in April , as earnings and guidance came in below expectations. The stock has yet to recover from that decline. One of the worst performers on the list is Datadog , whose stock has been nearly cut in half this year. The software company is slated to report its latest results on Aug. 4. Datadog said in May that it expected second-quarter growth to slow sequentially, which may have helped dampen expectations ahead of the upcoming earnings report. –CNBC’s Michael Bloom contributed to this report.

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