Stocks quoted in this article:
The major indexes are sitting comfortably in the black this afternoon, managing to shrug off a round of lackluster economic reports. Even so, a number of stocks have gone against the bullish grain today to venture into new-low territory. At last check, the Nasdaq has just 28 stocks at new peaks, versus 55 at fresh lows, while the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) shows 49 securities at new highs, and 44 stocks at new lows. Among the stocks tagging 12-month highs or lows in today's trading are Family Dollar Stores, Inc. (FDO), Altria Group, Inc. (MO), Seattle Genetics, Inc. (SGEN), Nokia Corporation (NOK), Symantec Corporation (SYMC), and Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc. (GMCR).
Notable Stocks at Annual Highs
- Family Dollar Stores (FDO - 72.93) has extended this week's gains by another 4% today -- tagging a new high of $74.73 in the process -- and boosting the equity's 52-week advance to more than 38%. The discount retailer received a price-target hike to $76 from $69 yesterday, but this vote of confidence toward the stock seems to be rare these days. In fact, out of the 20 analysts covering FDO, only eight have doled out "buy" or better endorsements, versus 11 "holds" and one "strong sell" recommendation. On the options front, pessimism also reigns supreme, as evidenced by the security's 10-day International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) put/call volume ratio of 2.69. This ratio -- which indicates that puts bought to open have more than doubled calls during the past two weeks -- ranks in the 94th annual percentile, meaning that traders have been scooping up puts over calls at a much faster-than-usual pace.
- Tobacco king Altria Group (MO - 33.59) climbed to a new high of $33.67 today, after being the first among its peers to enact a price increase this year. The security shows no signs of slowing down, either, considering its year-over-year gain of almost 23%. What's more, the stock has outpaced the broader S&P 500 Index (SPX) by north of 18% during the last 60 days. However, this technical prowess has done little to dissuade bears in the options pits, as the equity sports a SOIR of 5.22 -- signaling that puts outnumber calls by a margin of more than five to one among options expiring in the next three months. This ratio registers higher than all other readings gathered over the past 12 months, signifying a bearish peak.
- Seattle Genetics (SGEN - 24.89) has added 1.5% in intraday action, rising to a new high of $24.97. The biotech company reported that 65% of the patients taking its lymphoma drug Adcetris had prolonged their survival by more than two years. The equity's technical strength has been evident well before today, however, considering its year-to-date advance of almost 49%, as well as its outperformance of the SPX by roughly 40% during the past two months. Bullish options players have certainly taken notice, as calls bought to open have more than quadrupled puts by more than four to one over the past few months, according to data from the ISE/CBOE/PHLX. This ratio ranks in the 88th annual percentile, reflecting traders' healthier-than-usual appetite for calls over puts. Meanwhile, SGEN has secured five "strong buys" and two "buy" ratings, versus four "holds" and just one "strong sell" recommendation.
Notable Stocks at Annual Lows
- Nokia Corporation (NOK - 2.38) has taken a beating today, plummeting nearly 15% to a new low of $2.30. The beleaguered telecomm concern was downgraded to "underperform" from "neutral" and received a price-target slash to $2 from $4 at R.W. Baird after NOK issued its second profit warning in just over two months, projecting a steeper-than-expected current-quarter loss. The company also revealed plans to cut one in five jobs within its global cellphone segment. Given this latest round of dismal headlines, it's no surprise that only two "strong buys" have been bestowed upon the stock, compared to 17 tepid "hold" recommendations and five "sell" or worse ratings. Currently, NOK is sitting on a year-to-date decline of around 50%, and has lagged the SPX by 45% over the last three months.
- Symantec Corporation (SYMC - 14.45) slipped to a new low of $14.20 after having its price target cut to $17 from $18 at Deutsche Bank early this morning, but the stock has since managed to claw its way out of the red to tack on about 1%. At present, the software issue is down almost 23% on a year-over-year basis, but that hasn't stopped bullish enthusiasts from piling on the security. Data from the ISE/CBOE/PHLX shows a 10-day call/put volume ratio of 292.90, conveying that traders have bought to open a whopping 293 calls for every put during the last 10 days. In fact, this ratio sits just one percentage point shy of an annual peak, signaling that speculators have rarely picked up calls over puts at a faster pace over the past year. Additionally, SYMC boasts 15 "buy" or better endorsements, compared to 11 "holds" and not a single "sell" rating.
- Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (GMCR - 20.22) is off more than 5%, pressuring the equity to a fresh low of $20.15. Today's poor price action merely exacerbates the coffee giant's technical troubles, as GMCR has shed a whopping 74% in the past 12 months, and has woefully underperformed the SPX by 55% during the past 60 sessions. Despite this dismal technical showing, the security has no lack of short-term call activity. The Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) sits at 0.80, confirming that calls outstrip puts among options slated to expire over the next three months. This ratio sits just five percentage points above an annual low, indicating that near-term traders have rarely been more call-heavy toward the stock over the past year. However, short interest on the Keurig maker accounts for a hefty 18% of GMCR's available float -- suggesting that there is still plenty of skepticism hovering over the stock.