Stocks quoted in this article:
Momentum names that made notable moves on Monday and could continue to do so into Tuesday's session include financial services provider U.S. Bancorp (NYSE:USB), personal care products specialist Nu Skin Enterprises, Inc. (NYSE:NUS), and entertainment company Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. (USA) (NYSE:LGF). Here is a quick look at these stocks ahead of tomorrow's opening bell.
U.S. Bancorp (NYSE:USB)
U.S. Bancorp has enjoyed a steady upward trajectory over the past seven or so weeks. Today, after receiving a $5 price-target lift to $44 and an upgrade to "neutral" from "underweight" at Atlantic Equities, the stock climbed into fresh record-high territory at $43.57, and closed at $43.32 -- roughly 12% above its Feb. 4 intraday low of $38.72. Currently, calls are the contracts of choice among short-term USB speculators. The equity's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 0.62 ranks lower than all other similar readings taken during the past 12 months. In other words, call open interest (relative to put open interest) is at an annual-high level among USB options expiring within the next three months.
Nu Skin Enterprises, Inc. (NYSE:NUS)
Nu Skin shares jumped 18.2% today to close at $88.66, after the company received a smaller-than-expected fine of $540,000 from Chinese regulators for the use of illegal sales practices. Also, NUS' total options volume spiked to 24,000 contracts -- more than three times the expected daily amount. A healthy portion of the day's activity came at the hands of call writers at weekly and front-month strikes. In other words, many speculators placed a short-term cap on potential gains.
Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. (USA) (NYSE:LGF)
Lions Gate shares bounced 3.8% today to close at $28.66, thanks to box-office debut
, met analysts' expectations. Option traders responded to the news by picking up nearly twice as many contracts as usual. More than two-thirds of these options crossed on the call side, and it is possible some of this heavy call activity was the work of short sellers hedging against additional upside -- short interest accounts for 11.8% of LGF's available float.