Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)
AAPL will hold a media event at the company's headquarters in Cupertino, Calif. on Tuesday, Sept. 10. At the highly anticipated event -- which will include breakfast and a presentation -- the latest versions of the iPhone will reportedly be unveiled. Specifically, attendees expect to see the iPhone 5S (the successor of the iPhone 5) with new fingerprint technology, and the iPhone 5C, a cheaper version featuring a plastic case that comes in a variety of colors. Overall, AAPL is focused on gaining more customers in Asia, where its rival Samsung Electronics Co Ltd and other Android manufacturers prevail.
On the charts, AAPL has suffered a 29.3% loss since hitting its record peak of $705.07 in late September 2012. Still, the brokerage bunch maintains an optimistic outlook. From the 38 analysts weighing in, AAPL has received 30 "buy" or better endorsements, compared to just eight "holds" and not a single "sell" or worse suggestion, leaving the door wide open for a potential round of downgrades, which could spur fresh selling pressure for the shares.
Furthermore, Apple Inc. -- perched at $498.22 -- continues to struggle to regain ground atop the psychologically significant $500 level, which is also the site of heavy call open interest in the front three-month series of options (most notably the November series). As such, this heavy accumulation of call open interest could end up translating into options-related resistance in the near term, as these bullish bets start to unwind.
The Kroger Co. (NYSE:KR)
KR is slated to enter the earnings confessional ahead of the opening bell on Thursday, Sept. 12, and analysts, on average, are calling for a per-share profit of 60 cents, which represents an expected 9-cent increase from the prior year's results of 51 cents per share. Of note, KR has bested analysts' bottom-line expectations in all of the last eight periods, with an average positive earnings surprise of 5 cents per share. What's more, the stock has tacked on an average of 0.5% the day after the report, and 2.9% the following week.
Technically speaking, KR has climbed roughly 62% over the past year, and was last seen hovering around $37.40, just 6.9% from its all-time high of $39.97 tagged in late July. Regardless, KR's International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) 10-day put/call volume ratio of 0.89 ranks higher than 72% of all other such readings taken over the last year, indicating puts are being picked up over calls at an accelerated clip. Likewise, The Kroger Co.'s Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 1.16 ranks in the 83rd percentile of its annual range, conveying short-term speculators are much more put-biased now than they have been throughout the past year.
McDonald's Corporation (NYSE:MCD)
MCD is scheduled to announce its sales report for August on Tuesday, Sept. 10. In July, the leading fast-food chain reported a modest 0.7% increase in global comparable sales. More specifically, U.S. sales grew 1.6%, while sales in both Europe, and the Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa (APMEA) market dropped 1.9%. Overall, MCD hopes its forward-thinking approaches, and continued effort to improve customers' experiences will allow for more growth in future months. Perhaps its plans to revamp its "Dollar Menu" to include pricier items will aid in such goals.
Over the last year, MCD has struggled to make any significant gains on the charts. At its current trading price of $96.26, the stock stands a modest 6.2% higher year-over-year. Still, calls outnumber puts by a roughly 5-to-4 margin among MCD options expiring in three months or less, according to the stock's SOIR of 0.81. This ratio ranks lower than 74% of all other readings taken over the past year, meaning short-term traders are more call-heavy than usual toward MCD right now. Moreover, 11 of the 25 analysts weighing in on the stock endorse it as a "buy" or better, while its consensus 12-month price target of $104.90 stands in never-before-reached territory.
9 Levels to Watch for Apple Inc.
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