Stocks quoted in this article:
The Dow is trending nearly 32 points, or 0.2%, lower today, in the wake of weaker-than-expected quarterly earnings reports from the tech sector. Meanwhile, among the equities in focus are athletic apparel gurus Lululemon Athletica inc. (NASDAQ:LULU) and Under Armour Inc (NYSE:UA), along with online travel bargaining site Priceline.com Inc (NASDAQ:PCLN).
LULU is up 2.3% to trade at $67.31, after SunTrust initiated the stock with a "buy" rating and price target of $78. Technically speaking, LULU has had a rough 2013, shaving off 11.1% year-to-date. Moreover, the stock has underwhelmed the S&P 500 Index (SPX) by 19 percentage points during the past three months. Still, speculators at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) have bought to open nearly two LULU calls for every put within the last 10 weeks. The resultant 50-day call/put volume ratio of 1.78 ranks just 2 percentage points below an annual high, indicating speculators have rarely been more call-heavy throughout the past year.
Likewise, SunTrust introduced a "buy" rating for UA this morning. What's more, the firm set the stock's price target at $71, which represents expected upside of 16.3% from its current perch at $61.07. On the charts, UA has advanced roughly 25% in 2013. Regardless, options traders have snatched up more UA puts than calls by a margin of almost 3-to-1 during the last two weeks, according to the stock's ISE, CBOE, and PHLX 10-day put/call volume ratio of 2.69. This ratio ranks higher than 90% of all other such readings taken throughout the year, showcasing put activity is higher than usual in UA's options pits as of late.
Macquarie is the latest firm to upgrade its expectations for PCLN. Specifically, the firm hiked its price target to $1,000 from $915, while reiterating its "outperform" rating. It's no wonder PCLN has received bullish attention from the brokerage bunch as of late, considering the stock has soared nearly 44% year-to-date to hover at $891.87. On the other hand, options traders remain bearish toward PCLN. In fact, the stock sports a Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 1.20, with puts slightly outnumbering calls among options expiring within three months. This ratio ranks in the 99th percentile of its 12-month range, conveying short-term speculators are picking up puts over calls at a near annual-high pace.