Schaeffer's Trading Floor Blog
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U.S. stocks are mixed this afternoon, as enthusiasm over this morning's solid gross domestic product (GDP) reading has faded ahead of the Fed's policy announcement. Among the names making notable moves are at-home carbonation purveyor SodaStream International Ltd (NASDAQ:SODA), commodity stock United States Steel Corporation (NYSE:X), and stun-gun specialist TASER International, Inc. (NASDAQ:TASR). Here's a quick look at how SODA, X, and TASR are faring on the charts today.

  • SODA has spiked nearly 12% this afternoon to trade at $33.27, as Wall Street cheers a stronger-than-forecast second-quarter earnings report. It's quite likely we're seeing a short-squeeze rally play out today, as 31.2% of the equity's float is sold short -- representing 6.2 times SODA's average daily trading volume. Despite today's jump, shares of SodaStream International Ltd are still down about 33% year-to-date, and have yet to rise high enough to challenge resistance at their looming 40-day moving average.

  • X is also on the upswing after earnings, rallying almost 20% to trade at $33.18. Earlier in the session, United States Steel Corporation tagged a fresh high of $33.45 -- its best price since August 2011. Like its sector peer AK Steel Holding Corporation (NYSE:AKS), X looks due for some bullish brokerage attention. Currently, only 38% of analysts have deemed the stock worthy of a "buy" rating, and the average 12-month price target of $28.20 is well below today's new high.

  • TASR has vaulted to a gain of 15.5% this afternoon, with the stock riding high in the wake of this morning's second-quarter earnings announcement. Now, shares of TASER International, Inc. are poised to end the day above their 50-day moving average for the first time since April 3 -- but they're still sitting on a year-to-date deficit of more than 16%. Short sellers were targeting TASR ahead of today's earnings news, with the number of shares sold short ramping up by 14.3% during the past two reporting periods. With short interest accounting for 6.8% of the stock's float, it looks like some of the weaker bearish hands are hitting the exits amid today's rally.

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Analysts are weighing in today on metal maven AK Steel Holding Corporation (NYSE:AKS), diversified tech name Corning Incorporated (NYSE:GLW), and drilling equipment manufacturer National-Oilwell Varco, Inc. (NYSE:NOV). Here's a quick look at today's brokerage notes on AKS, GLW, and NOV.

  • AKS is up 2.2% today to trade at $9.16, extending yesterday's earnings momentum. In addition, AK Steel Holding Corporation received a $1 price-target hike to $7 from Nomura -- though the new target is still well below current trading levels. This relative skepticism isn't unusual, as Wall Street hasn't come to appreciate the shares, despite their more than 160% year-over-year advance. In fact, AKS' consensus 12-month price target rests at just $8, and nine out of 11 covering analysts have doled out "hold" or "strong sell" recommendations on the stock. If the equity continues to perform well on the charts, a round of bullish brokerage notes could come down the pike.

  • GLW is down another 0.9% at midday -- following yesterday's huge downside move -- and now trades near $19.82. Not helping with the recovery are the analysts at Cantor, who cut their price target on the stock to $18 from $19, and reaffirmed their "hold" rating. Of course, skepticism is commonplace, despite Corning Incorporated's roughly 30% year-over-year gain. Specifically, eight of the 14 Wall Street firms following the shares have given them a "hold" or "sell" recommendation.

  • Finally, a day after reporting mixed second-quarter results, NOV is off 1.3% to hover around $82.31. This, despite the stock receiving mostly positive brokerage attention. To be specific, National-Oilwell Varco, Inc. saw its price target raised by no fewer than six analysts, although Jefferies did cut the security's rating to "hold" from "buy," and slashed its price target to $91 from $95. Elsewhere, short sellers have been targeting NOV lately, as short interest on the equity rose nearly 6% during the two most recent reporting periods; it would take more than a week to cover the 15.3 million shares currently sold short, at the stock's average pace of trading. Should NOV resume its longer-term technical trajectory -- the stock is up nearly 15% in 2014 -- a short-covering rally could ensue.

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Earnings on Deck: Akamai Technologies, Inc., Alcatel Lucent SA (ADR), and Yelp Inc

Taking a closer look at AKAM, ALU, and YELP ahead of tonight's earnings results

by 7/30/2014 11:01 AM
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Wall Street has digested a bevy of earnings reports this week, and tonight, cloud concern Akamai Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ:AKAM), telecom issue Alcatel Lucent SA (ADR) (NYSE:ALU), and online review agent Yelp Inc (NYSE:YELP) are all due to report. Here's a quick look at AKAM, ALU, and YELP as earnings approach.

  • One day after announcing a new joint venture with Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT), shares of AKAM are up 2.2% at $60.30. While the day's advance is testing recent resistance at this round-number area -- which coincides with peak call open interest in the August series of options -- another well-received earnings report could help catapult the stock through this congestion. In fact, after besting analysts' bottom-line estimates in each of the past seven quarters, AKAM has averaged a one-week post-earnings gain of 4.7%. For Akamai Technologies, Inc.'s second quarter, Wall Street is calling for a per-share profit of 55 cents -- a 9-cent improvement over what the company earned one year ago.

  • ALU has been charting a path steadily lower in 2014, with the stock off about 15% to churn near $3.73. If past is prologue, though, the security could be poised to pare a portion of these losses after it reports earnings this evening. Specifically, despite falling short of consensus bottom-line estimates in five of the past seven quarters, Alcatel Lucent SA (ADR) has averaged a single-session post-earnings gain of 2.4%, which widens to 4.9% when going out one week. Regardless, the brokerage bunch remains mixed toward the underperformer. While 70% of covering analysts maintain a "hold" or "sell" suggestion toward the stock, the consensus 12-month price target of $4.90 stands at a steep 31% premium to current trading levels, and in territory not charted since July 2011.

  • There's a bullish pre-earnings buzz building on YELP today, with the shares up 6.2% at last check to trade at $73.69. This isn't too surprising, though, considering over the past eight quarters, the equity has averaged a 10% gain in the three-session period subsequent to reporting. Another well-received report could shake some of the weaker bearish hands loose, with nearly 15% of the stock's float sold short at present. Additionally, the security could benefit from a round of post-earnings upgrades, as roughly 27% of covering analysts have levied a "hold" or "strong sell" suggestion toward YELP. For the company's second quarter, the consensus estimate is for a per-share loss of 3 cents -- a 2-cent decline over Yelp Inc's year-ago results.

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Analyst Downgrades: Buffalo Wild Wings, Panera Bread Co, and United Parcel Service, Inc.

Analysts downwardly revised their ratings on BWLD, PNRA, and UPS

by 7/30/2014 9:21 AM
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Analysts are weighing in today on sports bar chain Buffalo Wild Wings (NASDAQ:BWLD), fast-casual eatery Panera Bread Co (NASDAQ:PNRA), and package delivery issue United Parcel Service, Inc. (NYSE:UPS). Here's a quick roundup of today's bearish brokerage notes.

  • BWLD is set to open more than 7% lower from last night's close at $167.15, after the company issued weaker-than-expected full-year guidance last night. This morning, the stock also got hit by a pair of bearish brokerage notes, as Barclays and Wunderlich cut their respective price targets to $187 (from $190) and $170 (from $180). Taking a step back, short sellers -- as well as yesterday's put buyers -- are likely rejoicing at the pre-market sell-off, as 8.7% of Buffalo Wild Wings' float is sold short.

  • Last night, PNRA reported a second-quarter per-share profit in line with the consensus view, but fell short of the average quarterly revenue estimate and lowered its full-year guidance. This news was met with a bearish note from Barclays, which slashed its price target on Panera Bread Co to $167 from $174, and maintained its "equal weight" rating. Analysts are generally split over PNRA's prospects, with nine firms handing out "strong buy" endorsements, compared to eight "holds" and three "strong sell" recommendations. The equity closed at $146.62 yesterday.

  • Finally, UPS received reduced price targets from Baird (to $105 from $110) and Deutsche Bank (to $120 from $122), after the company missed the consensus second-quarter earnings estimate on Tuesday morning and fell 3.7% during the ensuing session. The move lower sent the shares south of the century mark for the first time since early May, and the stock is now down roughly 6% year-to-date. That said, additional price-target cuts could be on the way. United Parcel Service, Inc.'s consensus 12-month price target checks in at $110.38, or roughly 12% above the security's Tuesday finish at $98.86.

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Buzz Stocks: Tesla Motors Inc (TSLA),, Inc., Ford Motor Company, and Amgen, Inc.

Stocks in the news today include TSLA, AMZN, F, and AMGN

by 7/30/2014 9:07 AM
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U.S. stock futures are broadly higher this morning, catching a lift from a stronger-than-forecast 4% rise in gross domestic product (GDP) during the second quarter. In company news, today's stocks to watch include electric automaker Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA), online retailer, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN), car and truck giant Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F), and biotech issue Amgen, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMGN).

  • Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) is going to play ball with China on electric car-charging standards, according to media reports coming out of the mainland. The country's official standard for charging electric autos is still a work in progress, but an exec for TSLA said the company "is willing to cooperate with China" and work toward compatibility with the new system. Traders should look for TSLA to remain in focus during the next couple of sessions, with second-quarter earnings due out after Thursday's closing bell. (MarketWatch)

  •, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) is plowing $2 billion into its India business, as CEO Jeff Bezos declared the key emerging market "is on track to be our fastest country ever to a billion dollars in gross sales." Separately, AMZN continues to spar with publisher Hachette Book Group over e-book pricing, with the retailer arguing in a Tuesday statement that a lower price point generates greater overall revenue. (Reuters; Bloomberg)

  • Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) is raising prices on its lighter, aluminum-bodied 2015 F-150 pickups. Compared to 2014 models, the price increases range from $395 for the XL to $3,615 for the King Ranch model. (Tech Times)

  • Amgen, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMGN) announced plans to cut at least 2,400 jobs globally, or 12% to 15% of its total workforce. The move will take AMGN entirely out of the Seattle market, with the company closing its facilities in the Emerald City and nearby Bothell, Washington. The restructuring plans were announced late Tuesday, along with AMGN's second-quarter earnings. (Seattle Times)

  • On the earnings front, Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR), Garmin Ltd. (NASDAQ:GRMN), Sprint Corporation (NYSE:S), and WellPoint Inc (NYSE:WLP) were among the big names to report their latest quarterly results. (Barron's; Reuters, via MSN Money; Re/code; AP, via ABC News)

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