Schaeffer's Trading Floor Blog

Stocks On the Move: Las Vegas Sands Corp., SinoCoking Coal and Coke Chem Ind, Inc., and Zillow Inc

LVS, SCOK, and Z are moving sharply in Tuesday's trading

by 9/16/2014 1:18 PM
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Equity markets have surged higher in afternoon trading thanks to a boost in the energy sector. Drilling down on specific stocks, casino concern Las Vegas Sands Corp. (NYSE:LVS), China-based mining issue SinoCoking Coal and Coke Chem Ind, Inc. (NASDAQ:SCOK), and online real estate firm Zillow Inc (NASDAQ:Z) are all making notable moves today. Here's a quick roundup of how LVS, SCOK, and Z are performing on the charts so far.

  • LVS is sitting out this afternoon's broad-market rally, after Wells Fargo said it expects Macau gaming revenue for September to decline by a wider margin than initially forecast. At last check, shares of LVS were 1.9% lower at $60.98, after earlier tumbling to a fresh annual low of $59.52. Today's drop only highlights the equity's withstanding technical troubles, though, with the shares off nearly 31% from their five-year high of $88.28, tagged in early March. In spite of this, almost 79% of covering analysts maintain a "strong buy" rating toward the security, with not a single "sell" to be found. Should Las Vegas Sands Corp. continue to lose ground on the charts, an additional round of downgrades could apply further pressure to the shares.

  • Shares of SCOK are soaring today -- up 37.8% at $7.44 -- after a local Chinese government said it would provide the company with a pipeline distribution network. The news follows a freshly inked coal-conversion contract reported last Tuesday, which sent the stock 143% higher that day. Tallying its return from the start of September, shares of SCOK have now rallied almost 154%. In the options pits, speculators have shown a preference for puts over calls among contracts expiring in three months or less. Specifically, the equity's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 0.82 ranks in the 76th percentile of its annual range, indicating short-term traders have been more put-focused toward SinoCoking Coal and Coke Chem Ind, Inc. than usual.

  • Z has popped more than 6% today on no apparent news, with the equity last seen lingering near $133.44. Longer term, the security has tacked on 63% in 2014, yet two-thirds of analysts covering the stock maintain a tepid "hold" recommendation toward it. Plus, the consensus 12-month price target of $145.62 stands at a lukewarm 9.1% premium to current trading levels. Should any of these brokerage firms follow in the footsteps of Stephens -- which yesterday started Zillow Inc with an "overweight" rating and a $170 price target -- the equity could receive a fresh burst of buying power.

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Analyst Update: American Eagle Outfitters, DryShips Inc., and Tesla Motors Inc (TSLA)

Analysts adjusted their ratings on AEO, DRYS, and TSLA

by 9/16/2014 12:42 PM
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Analysts are weighing in today on retailer American Eagle Outfitters (NYSE:AEO), ocean transportation issue DryShips Inc. (NASDAQ:DRYS), and electric car concern Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA). Here's a quick look at today's brokerage notes on AEO, DRYS, and TSLA.

  • AEO is up over 4% today after Stephens upped its recommendation to "overweight" from "equal weight." The equity has been strong on the charts in the last two months, outperforming the S&P 500 Index (SPX) by 27 percentage points to find itself at its current perch of $14.10. Additional upgrades could move American Eagle Outfitters higher, as 10 brokerage firms currently rate it a "hold," and two maintain "strong sell" opinions.

  • DRYS has gained 4% today to trade at $2.99, after Deutsche Bank initiated coverage of the equity with a "buy" rating. The positive note is a breath of fresh air for the stock -- it's off 37% in 2014, and prior to today boasted no "buy" endorsements. Sentiment surrounding DryShips Inc. may be shifting, as its International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) 10-day call/put volume ratio of 47.06 ranks in the 95th percentile of its annual range, implying that calls have been picked up at a faster-than-normal rate in the past two weeks.

  • Lastly, TSLA is on the move yet again -- this time in a positive direction -- after an analyst at Global Equities Research recommended buying the stock following yesterday's sharpest decline in months. At last check, Tesla Motors Inc was trading at $258.10, gaining 1.7% on the day. Year-to-date, the stock is up 70%, and has a consensus 12-month price target of $264.17. Elsewhere, TSLA's short-term options can be picked up at bargain price, historically speaking, with its Schaeffer's Volatility Index (SVI) of 32% just 6 percentage points from an annual low.

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Analyst Downgrades:, inc., Paychex, Inc., and Yelp Inc

Analysts downwardly revised their ratings on CRM, PAYX, and YELP

by 9/16/2014 9:28 AM
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Analysts are weighing in today on cloud computing firm, inc. (NYSE:CRM), HR services provider Paychex, Inc. (NASDAQ:PAYX), and business review website Yelp Inc (NYSE:YELP). Here's a quick roundup of today's bearish brokerage notes on CRM, PAYX, and YELP.

  • RBC cuts its price target on CRM to $72 from $75, but maintained its "outperform" rating. Technically, however, the shares have been a force -- outperforming the broader S&P 500 Index (SPX) by more than 10 percentage points during the past two months. In fact, the stock has advanced nearly 16% on a year-over-year basis to trade at $57.57. Elsewhere, short sellers have shown an interest in, inc., as 6.5% of its float is sold short -- which would take nearly a week to buy back, at average daily trading levels. If CRM can maintain its positive momentum, a short-squeeze situation could materialize.

  • Bernstein started coverage on PAYX with an "underperform" recommendation. This is par for the course, as 15 out of 16 covering analysts have given the stock a "hold" or worse assessment. Also, the security's consensus 12-month price target of $42.46 is less than 1% away from the current share price of $42.11. Taking a step back, Paychex, Inc. has staggered to a 7.5% loss this year.

  • Finally, YELP was initiated with a "neutral" rating and an $80 price target at Baird. This less-than-glowing assessment is relatively uncommon on the Street, where 18 of 26 covering analysts sport "buy" or better opinions of the shares. Technically, Yelp Inc has had it rough since hitting a record high of $101.75 in early March, losing a quarter of its value since then -- including a 6.3% loss on Monday -- to trade at $76.62. If the security continues to languish on the charts, it could force the Wall Street bulls to lower their expectations of YELP via a round of downgrades.

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Buzz Stocks: General Motors Company, SIGA Technologies, Inc., and Sears Holdings Corp

Today's stocks to watch include GM, SIGA, and SHLD

by 9/16/2014 9:03 AM
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Futures are signaling a slow start ahead of today's kick-off of the Federal Open Market Committee's (FOMC) two-day policy-setting meeting. On the corporate front, today's stocks to watch include automaker General Motors Company (NYSE:GM), biopharmaceutical firm SIGA Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ:SIGA), and department store chain Sears Holdings Corp (NASDAQ:SHLD).

  • GM's European division Adam Opel AG -- is reducing production in Russia amid signs of declining sales and uncertainty surrounding geopolitical developments. In a statement, Opel CEO Karl-Thomas Neumann said, "Last year Russia was our third-largest market after the U.K. and Germany -- now this market is embroiled in serious turbulence." The news follows yesterday's reports that the death toll from the company's recalled vehicles has increased to at least 19 people. On the charts, the stock has struggled amid GM's fundamental woes -- down nearly 18% year-to-date at $33.63. In spite of this, 64% of covering analysts maintain a "buy" or better rating toward General Motors Company, leaving the door wide open for another round of bearish brokerage notes, which could pressure the shares lower.

  • SIGA is poised to plunge 35% right out of the gate, after the smallpox drug supplier filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in Manhattan, in order to avoid paying damages to PharmAthene over a contract dispute. Technically speaking, the stock has had a terrible year, and is down 56% to churn near $1.44. Should the security extend this decline in today's session, there is certain to be one group of traders pleased with the sell-off -- short sellers. At present, more than 12% of the equity's float is sold short, and would take north of 12 sessions to cover, at SIGA Technologies, Inc.'s average daily pace of trading.

  • SHLD's cash troubles have been fodder for the Street for some time, and most recently, the struggling retailer said it secured a $400 million loan from CEO Eddie Lampert's hedge fund. The infusion of cash comes on the heels of last Thursday's credit downgrade to CC from CCC at Fitch Ratings, with the brokerage firm expressing concern the company's current funding "may not be enough to support operations beyond 2016." The stock has been in a downward spiral since hitting its most recent high of $45.81 in early May, off 27% to linger near $33.52. Option traders think more losses are ahead, as evidenced by the equity's 10-day International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) put/call volume ratio of 2.57, which ranks just 6 percentage points from an annual bearish peak.

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Analyst Upgrades: Microsoft Corporation, MasterCard Inc, and Visa Inc

Analysts upwardly revised their ratings on MSFT, MA, and V

by 9/16/2014 8:55 AM
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Analysts are weighing in today on software titan Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT), and credit card rivals MasterCard Inc (NYSE:MA) and Visa Inc (NYSE:V). Here's a quick roundup of today's bullish brokerage notes on MSFT, MA, and V.

  • MSFT received an upgrade to "outperform" from "sector perform," and a $7 price-target hike to $54, from RBC. This isn't surprising, given the stock's market-beating 23.6% year-to-date lead. Still, a number of analysts remain skeptical of Microsoft Corporation, which yesterday confirmed plans to buy Mojang for $2.5 billion. Eleven of the 20 brokerage firms following the shares have designated it a "hold," while the equity's average 12-month price target of $47.56 is just a chip-shot away from the current share price of $46.24. Should MSFT sustain its longer-term technical tenacity, additional bullish notes could usher in a fresh wave of buying power.

  • MA was started with an "outperform" assessment at Bernstein, a "buy" endorsement at Sterne Agee, and an "overweight" rating at Piper Jaffray. This is pretty typical for Wall Street, where 15 analysts have doled out "buy" or better opinions on the credit card name, versus eight "holds." However, MasterCard Inc has struggled on the charts, losing nearly 10% in 2014 -- compared to the broader S&P 500 Index's (SPX) 7.3% gain -- to rest at $75.24. Should this downtrend continue, the brokerage crowd may be forced to re-evaluate the equity in a bearish direction, which could pressure the shares even lower.

  • Finally, V received the exact same trio of upgrades as MA, yet this stock, too, has struggled technically. Specifically, on a year-to-date basis, Visa Inc is down 3.6% to trade at $214.64, and has recently had trouble in the $215-$219 range. Option bears have taken notice of this lackluster price action. During the past 10 weeks at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), the equity has racked up a put/call volume ratio of 0.89, which ranks in the bearishly skewed 93rd percentile of its annual range.

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