Stocks quoted in this article:
After a strong start to the session, stocks are mixed heading into the final hours of trading. The Nasdaq Composite (COMP) is the sole major market index in the black, while the Dow and S&P 500 Index (SPX) have pared their earlier gains. Despite the market struggling to find a solid direction, a number of equities have found their way to technical milestones including Ross Stores, Inc. (ROST), Skechers USA Inc (SKX), Target Corporation (TGT), Centene Corp (CNC), Ctrip.com International, Ltd. (CTRP) and SUPERVALU INC. (SVU). Against this wishy-washy backdrop, 66 equities have tagged new highs on the NYSE, versus 27 new lows. Meanwhile, the NASDAQ has marked 51 new highs and 26 new lows.
Notable Stocks at Annual Highs
- Ross Stores, Inc. (ROST - 64.11) darted to an all-time peak of $65.36 right out of the gate this morning. The stock has moved steadily up the charts atop its 10-week moving average, adding an impressive 68% to its value over the past 12 months. Options players have certainly taken notice of the equity's technical prowess, with ROST's 50-day International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) call/put volume ratio of 3.05 ranking in the 80th percentile of its annual range. In other words, bullish bets have been scooped up over bearish at a faster-than-usual clip in recent months.
- Skechers USA Inc (SKX - 19.96) jumped to a new annual high of $20.23 in early trading, following an upgrade from Sterne Agee to "buy" from "neutral." The shares have added a formidable 64% in 2012. With no fewer than 83% of covering analysts slapping a "hold" or "sell" suggestion on the stock, any upgrades from this bunch could position SKX for some additional brokerage-related tailwinds.
- Target Corporation (TGT - 59.03) tagged the $59.40 mark around 9:45 a.m. this morning -- its highest point since December 2010. The value of the shares have grown by 15.2% in 2012, and could continue to add to this year-to-date gain should the $59 level reveal itself as a new layer of support for TGT. The stock is poised to finish its second consecutive daily close above this mark -- an area that served as overhead resistance throughout March and April.
Notable Stocks at Annual Lows
- Centene Corp (CNC - 27.27) plunged to a new annual low of $24.26 this morning, as news of the company's downwardly revised fiscal forecast hit the Street. Due to higher costs in Kentucky and Texas, CNC cut its full-year earnings outlook by $1.19 to $1.45 to $1.65 per share, well below Wall Street's outlook for a per-share profit of $2.68. Analysts were split on the health-care concern ahead of today's announcement, with the stock sporting seven "buy" or "strong buy" recommendations, versus seven "hold" or "sell" suggestions.
- Ctrip.com International, Ltd. (CTRP - 17.00) tapped a three-year nadir of $16.95 in today's session. The stock has lost roughly 58% of its value over the last 52 weeks. CTRP is now flailing beneath its 40-day moving average -- a trendline that has ushered the equity lower since August. Short sellers reduced their bearish exposure by 25.3% during the past month, and short interest now accounts for 6.8% of the stock's available float. Today's price action could encourage a new batch of bears on board, exacerbating CTRP's slide in the short term.
- SUPERVALU INC. (SVU - 4.07) sunk to its lowest level since July 1982 today, after Barclays cuts its price target by $1.50 to $6.50. However, the new price target still represents a 59% premium to SVU's current perch of $4.07 -- also the site of today's intraday nadir. The stock has been struggling for some time, with the shares sitting on a 52% year-over-year deficit. More recently, SVU has lagged the broader S&P 500 Index (SPX) by 25 percentage points, on a relative-strength basis. As a result, the equity is tiptoeing toward oversold territory, with its Relative Strength Index (RSI) sitting at 32.