Schaeffer's Trading Floor Blog
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U.S. stocks are mixed this afternoon, as the major equity indexes attempt to go out on a positive note ahead of the long holiday weekend. Among the names making notable moves are telecom services provider China Unicom (Hong Kong) Limited (ADR) (NYSE:CHU), restaurant chain Zoe's Kitchen Inc (NYSE:ZOES), and biotech stock United Therapeutics Corporation (NASDAQ:UTHR). Here's a quick look at how CHU, ZOES, and UTHR are faring on the charts today.

  • News of a partnership with Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) has triggered a 3.3% jump for CHU, with the U.S.-traded shares at $17.74 this afternoon. In fact, earlier in the session, the stock touched a new two-year high of $17.85. As a result, China Unicom (Hong Kong) Limited (ADR) has surpassed most analysts' expectations; CHU's average 12-month price target stands at just $17.72.

  • ZOES has shed 4.8% to trade at $29.13 in the wake of last night's earnings report, as the low end of the restaurant chain's fiscal 2014 revenue forecast fell short of consensus estimates. Bears are likely pleased by today's sell-off, as ZOES sports a steep short interest-to-float ratio of 23.7%. Conversely, Zoe's Kitchen Inc is well-liked by analysts. Four out of five brokerage firms call the stock a "strong buy," and Jefferies issued a post-earnings price-target hike to $28 from $25.

  • On the heels of a favorable patent ruling, UTHR is up 27.6% at $116.95, after earlier peaking at $118.00 -- a new record high. United Therapeutics Corporation could be enjoying a short-squeeze rally, as no less than 10.5% of the stock's float is sold short. At UTHR's average daily trading volume, it would take more than nine days for all of these bearish bets to be covered.

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Analyst Update: Abercrombie & Fitch Co., Avago Technologies Ltd, and Dollar General Corp.

Analysts adjusted their ratings on ANF, AVGO, and DG

by 8/29/2014 11:46 AM
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Analysts are weighing in today on teen apparel name Abercrombie & Fitch Co. (NYSE:ANF), semiconductor concern Avago Technologies Ltd (NASDAQ:AVGO), and discount retailer Dollar General Corp. (NYSE:DG). Here's a quick look at today's brokerage notes on ANF, AVGO, and DG.

  • Despite yesterday's 5.2% earnings-induced loss, ANF received price target hikes to $42 (from $37) and $43 (from $37) at Topeka Capital and Mizuho, respectively. Nevertheless, the shares are fractionally lower around midday at $41.83 -- though, on a year-to-date basis, they're still up 27%. Despite this longer-term technical tenacity, options traders have been targeting puts over calls in recent weeks. Abercrombie & Fitch Co.'s 10-day International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) put/call volume ratio of 1.68 ranks just 13 percentage points from an annual bearish acme.

  • AVGO has tacked on 8.5% today to trade at $82.87, and earlier touched a record high of $84.80. Buoying the stock was last night's fiscal third-quarter earnings beat and solid guidance, and a subsequent flurry of bullish brokerage notes -- including price-target hikes at no fewer than 13 firms. Taking a step back, shares of Avago Technologies Ltd have more than doubled on a year-over-year basis. Nevertheless, the stock's 50-day ISE/CBOE/PHLX put/call volume ratio of 0.70 ranks higher than 90% of all readings from the past year, revealing options traders have strongly preferred bearish bets over bullish in recent months. Given AVGO's on-chart performance, however, a portion of these put buyers may be shareholders hedging against an unexpected pullback in the equity.

  • DG is down 1% to hover near $63.59, despite receiving an upwardly revised price target -- to $78 from $65 -- at BMO. This comes a day after the retailer announced it is still attempting to buy Family Dollar Stores, Inc. (NYSE:FDO). Taking a step back, Wall Street is almost evenly split on Dollar General Corp. Nine covering analysts have give the shares a "strong buy" rating, compared to eight that have doled out "hold" opinions. Meanwhile, DG's consensus 12-month price target of $69.39 stands at a modest premium to the current share price.

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Analyst Downgrades: Rambus Inc., Splunk Inc, and TiVo Inc.

Analysts downwardly revised their ratings on RMBS, SPLK, and TIVO

by 8/29/2014 9:06 AM
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Analysts are weighing in today on tech stock Rambus Inc. (NASDAQ:RMBS), software concern Splunk Inc (NASDAQ:SPLK), and set-top box maker TiVo Inc. (NASDAQ:TIVO). Here's a quick roundup of today's bearish brokerage notes on RMBS, SPLK, and TIVO.

  • Despite adding 28.5% this year to trade at $12.17, RMBS got hit with a $1.50 price-target cut to $13.50 at Jefferies. The brokerage firm isn't the only one with doubts about the stock, either -- short sellers are skeptical, as well. Specifically, 7.3% of Rambus Inc.'s float is sold short, which would take nearly 17 sessions to buy back, at the equity's typical trading volumes.

  • While SPLK is set to open higher out of the gate following a successful turn in the earnings confessional and an upwardly revised full-year outlook, the shares still have a long way to go to reach year-to-date breakeven -- down 34% in 2014 to rest near $45.29. Splunk Inc also received a trio of price-target cuts at Canaccord Genuity, FBR, and Susquehanna (although Barclays, Cowen, Deutsche Bank, and Janney raised their 12-month estimates). Additional bearish notes could be forthcoming on the longer-term underperformer. After all, SPLK's consensus 12-month price target is docked at $66.08 -- a nearly 46% premium to the stock's current perch -- and 14 brokerage firms maintain "strong buy" opinions on the shares, compared to just five "holds" and not a single "sell" recommendation.

  • Finally, TIVO saw its price target reduced by $1 to $19 at Barrington Research, just a day after receiving price-target hikes from BMO, Janney, and J.P. Morgan Securities. Technically speaking, TiVo Inc. shares have made measured progress in 2014, tacking on 5.6% to trade at $13.85. Meanwhile, options speculators see upside ahead, as the security's 50-day International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) call/put volume ratio of 10.44 ranks in the bullishly skewed 80th percentile of its annual range.

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Buzz Stocks: Sprint Corporation, Baidu Inc (ADR), Google Inc, and Johnson & Johnson

Stocks in the news today include S, BIDU, GOOGL, and JNJ

by 8/29/2014 9:01 AM
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U.S. stock futures are on track for a comeback this morning, with the major equity indexes looking to recover from Thursday's dip and build on their weekly gains. In company news, today's stocks to watch include wireless provider Sprint Corporation (NYSE:S), online search giants Baidu Inc (ADR) (NASDAQ:BIDU) and Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL), and drug company Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ).

  • Sources indicate that Softbank unit Sprint Corporation (NYSE:S) will soon offer a Sony Corp (ADR) (NYSE:SNE) smartphone for the first time ever, as a new iteration of the Xperia device is due to be unveiled at Berlin's IFA tech expo next week. Currently, T-Mobile US Inc (NYSE:TMUS) is the only U.S. carrier offering contracts connected to Sony's smartphones. (Reuters)

  • Baidu Inc (ADR) (NASDAQ:BIDU) is teaming up with fellow Chinese tech firms Tencent and Wanda to launch an $814 million joint venture, as the companies look to compete with Alibaba in the e-commerce arena. Wanda will hold a 70% interest in the venture, while BIDU and Tencent will hold stakes of 15% each. (TechCrunch)

  • Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) announced a new program known as Project Wing, through which the company is developing airborne delivery drones. The project seems to be GOOGL's attempt to keep up with, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN), which last year unveiled plans for its "Prime Air" drone delivery service. (Reuters, via CNBC)

  • A source close to the situation says that Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) is contemplating the sale of its Cordis unit, which specializes in cardiovascular devices. Cordis brought in $7.24 billion in revenue for the second quarter, and JNJ could bring in up to $2 billion on the sale of the business. (Bloomberg)

  • In earnings news, Big Lots, Inc. (NYSE:BIG), Avago Technologies Ltd (NASDAQ:AVGO), Splunk Inc (NASDAQ:SPLK), and Pacific Sunwear of California, Inc. (NASDAQ:PSUN) will be in focus today after reporting their latest quarterly results. (MarketWatch)

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Analyst Upgrades: 3D Systems Corporation, Micron Technology, Inc., and OmniVision Technologies, Inc.

Analysts upwardly revised their ratings on DDD, MU, and OVTI

by 8/29/2014 8:38 AM
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Analysts are weighing in today on printing issue 3D Systems Corporation (NYSE:DDD), and semiconductor concerns Micron Technology, Inc. (NASDAQ:MU) and OmniVision Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ:OVTI). Here's a quick roundup of today's bullish brokerage notes on DDD, MU, and OVTI.

  • Since hitting a month-to-date low of $46.05 on Aug. 5, DDD has been trending northward, up 15.5% at $53.19. Accordingly, Stifel started coverage of the stock with a "buy" rating and $65 price target. Should shares of 3D Systems Corporation continue to climb higher, a huge short-covering rally could ensue. Currently, 35.2% of the equity's float is sold short, which would take nearly 12 sessions to buy back, given DDD's typical daily trading levels.

  • MU has had a strong 2014, up almost 51% to trade at $32.81. Jefferies recognized this technical progress, boosting its price target on the shares to $40 from $38. While short interest on Micron Technology, Inc. has been falling -- down 16.1% during the most recent reporting period -- nearly 10% of the equity's float remains dedicated to short interest. In other words, there's still plenty of sideline cash available to fuel MU's ascent.

  • Like MU, OVTI is a technical outperformer, advancing 58% this year to rest at $27.18. What's more, following yesterday's fiscal first-quarter earnings beat, the security received a price-target hike to $28 from $27 at Wedbush, and an upgrade to "market perform" from "underperform" at Raymond James. Additional bullish notes could be forthcoming, too. After all, six out of seven analysts covering OmniVision Technologies, Inc. have doled out "hold" or worse recommendations, while the stock's average 12-month price target of $25.65 stands at a discount to the current share price. Ahead of the open, OVTI is up more than 2%.

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