Stocks quoted in this article:
U.S. stocks are flirting with breakeven at midday, as investors weigh lackluster housing data against an eight-year low in jobless claims. Meanwhile, among the equities in focus are online marketplace Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN), cloud concern Akamai Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ:AKAM), and mining issue Freeport-McMoRan Inc (NYSE:FCX), which have all attracted attention on Wall Street.
- AMZN -- which will report second-quarter earnings in just a few hours -- was last seen 0.5% higher at $359.75. In the meantime, it seems everyone has an opinion on Amazon's new (and first) smartphone, the Fire. While USA Today's Edward Baig called the phone a "strong first effort," and said he expects Fire to "fire up the smartphone market," Brier Dudley at The Seattle Times admits that the Fire debut is "impressive," but "the price [of $650 without a contract] is a bit high for a device designed to help you buy more stuff from Amazon." Ahead of earnings, the options board is pricing in a roughly 6% move for the stock, according to Schaeffer's contributor Adam Warner. Following its last two turns in the earnings confessional, Amazon.com, Inc. shares dropped 10.9% and 13.7%, respectively, in the subsequent three days.
- AKAM has added 1.8% to $59.55, after Macquarie upgraded the stock to "outperform" this morning. The company is slated to report second-quarter earnings after the close next Wednesday, July 30, and most analysts are already in the bullish corner. In fact, Akamai Technologies, Inc. boasts 14 "strong buys," compared to four "holds" and not a single "sell." The stock has performed well in 2014, up 26.2%, and has averaged a one-week post-earnings gain of 7.1% over the past eight quarters.
- Finally, FCX is down 2.3% at $37.66. The firm reported stronger-than-expected second-quarter revenue yesterday morning, and is reportedly on the verge of ending a months-long standoff in Indonesia and resuming copper exports. Accordingly, Jefferies and Credit Suisse lifted their price targets on the stock to $50 and $45, respectively. BofA-Merrill Lynch, on the other hand, downgraded FCX to "neutral" from "buy." Freeport-McMoRan Inc shares are now struggling to stay in the green for the year, and are in danger of ending beneath their 20-day moving average for the first time since mid-June.