Stocks quoted in this article:
The major market indexes are attempting to reclaim yesterday's losses, as the bulls returned from the sidelines following a report that U.S. retail sales experienced their biggest increase since February last month. Mirroring this upbeat mood, the number of equities reaching fresh annual highs is surpassing those at new lows. At last look, the NYSE tallied 101 securities touching 52-week highs, and just 15 new lows. Over on the Nasdaq, there are 44 annual peaks, versus 28 lows -- most notably being Groupon Inc's (NASDAQ:GRPN) earnings-related post-IPO worst of $5.49. Among the stocks making record-breaking runs today are Campbell Soup Company (NYSE:CPB - 34.45), The Home Depot, Inc. (NYSE:HD - 54.93), Target Corporation (NYSE:TGT - 63.15), and Western Digital Corp. (NASDAQ:WDC - 44.31).
- CPB scored an analyst-induced peak yesterday, following an upgrade to "conviction buy" from "sell" at Goldman Sachs. This positive momentum carried over into today's session, as the stock jumped to a new annual high of $34.80 this morning, adding to its modest 3.3% year-to-date rise. Should the shares prolong this rally, the bearishly biased brokerage bunch could rethink their current positions. Just one out of 17 analysts considers the soup giant a "strong buy," while the average 12-month price target of $33.85 represents a discount to CPB's fresh high.
- On the heels of a well-received second-quarter showing, including an upwardly adjusted full-year profit outlook, HD soared to $54.95 -- its loftiest price in nearly 12 years. This positive momentum amplified the stock's 2012 gain of 25.6%, and its 67.9% year-long upswing. Prior to earnings, the options arena was pessimistically stacked toward the home improvement company. The stock's 10-day put/call volume ratio of 2.8 on the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) ranks in the 94th percentile of its annual range, signaling that traders on these exchanges have seldom made bearish bets over bullish at a faster pace during the past year. To boot, the security's 50-day put/call volume ratio of 2.22 lands just one percentage point from an annual high.
- Just after lunchtime, TGT jumped to a near five-year best of $63.35. As the mega-retailer prepares for tomorrow morning's second-quarter report, the sentiment backdrop is far from upbeat. During the past 10 days, speculators on the ISE, CBOE, and PHLX have bought to open 1.66 puts for every call on TGT. This ratio is in the 93rd percentile of its annual range, signaling that traders on these exchanges have seldom made bearish bets over bullish at a faster pace during the past year. Plus, TGT's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 1.03 sits in the 75th percentile, suggesting that near-term options players have been more put-heavy just 25% of the time during the last 12 months.
- Finally, WDC touched a new two-year best of $44.75 this morning. But at last look, the stock has backpedaled a bit and is currently faltering around the breakeven mark. Nonetheless, the shares have rocketed more than 43% since the beginning of the year, and have outperformed the broader S&P 500 Index (SPX) by nearly 39% during the past 40 sessions. As a result of this uptrend, WDC's Relative Strength Index (RSI) now rests at 83 -- in overbought territory -- suggesting the shares may be due for a pullback.