Schaeffer's Trading Floor Blog
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Stocks are modestly higher at midday, as encouraging guidance from Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC) is overshadowing lackluster domestic data and tensions in Iraq. Meanwhile, among the equities in focus are tech concerns Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Marvell Technology Group Ltd. (NASDAQ:MRVL), as well as biopharmaceutical firm MannKind Corporation (NASDAQ:MNKD), which have all attracted analyst attention.

  • AAPL is bucking the tech trend higher, despite Raymond James lifting its price target to $102 from $86. In addition, the brokerage firm reiterated its "outperform" rating, as did analysts at BMO, who -- like so many others of late -- revised their price target to $98 from $685 to reflect AAPL's recent stock split. However, today's dip may have been in the cards for Apple Inc., which has outperformed the S&P 500 Index (SPX) by more than 20 percentage points during the past two months. As such, the stock's 14-day Relative Strength Index (RSI) rests at a lofty 78 -- in overbought territory.

  • MRVL is down 1% at $14.80, after Susquehanna downgraded the shares to "neutral" from "positive," and trimmed its price target to $16 from $19. Option buyers, on the other hand, have grown increasingly optimistic toward Marvell Technology Group Ltd. On the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), speculators have bought to open nearly eight MRVL calls for every put during the past two weeks. In fact, the resulting 10-day call/put volume ratio of 7.75 stands higher than 84% of all comparable readings from the past year, pointing to a healthier-than-usual appetite for bullish bets of late. Short-term traders are purchasing the options at a relative discount, to boot, as the stock's Schaeffer's Volatility Index (SVI) of 24% sits just 6 percentage points from an annual low.

  • Finally, MNKD has jumped 4.3% to $10.20, thanks to a fresh "outperform" rating and $16 price target at RBC. The security has almost doubled in 2014, and touched a three-year peak of $11.11 earlier this month, bringing its 14-day RSI to 75. However, Wall Street remains skeptical; just two out of six analysts consider MannKind Corporation worthy of a "strong buy." Meanwhile, short interest accounts for 28% of the security's total available float, representing six sessions' worth of pent-up buying demand, at MNKD's average pace of trading. Should the stock extend its climb -- or should the company score FDA approval for Afrezza next month -- more upbeat analyst attention and/or a short squeeze could propel MNKD even higher.

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