Schaeffer's Trading Floor Blog

Highs & Lows: Boston Scientific and Level 3 Communications

BSX fell to a fresh low today, while LVLT caught a boost from a reverse stock split

by 10/20/2011 2:40 PM
Stocks quoted in this article:

The major market indexes have been zig-zagging back and forth across the breakeven line throughout today's trading, resulting in a mixed bag of new highs and lows. The NYSE has seen just six securities muscle their way to fresh 52-week peaks, while another 25 issues have slumped to a new annual nadir. The picture is pretty similar over on the Nasdaq, where we've got 11 new highs and 35 new lows. Boston Scientific Corporation (BSX - 5.36) is among the dozens of stocks to mark a bearish technical milestone today, while Level 3 Communications, Inc. (LVLT - 23.14) is exploring new-high territory -- kind of...

BSX price chartGetting the bad news out of the way first, BSX fell as far south as $5.30 today, breaching short-term support at the $5.50 level in the process. The stock is down about 5% this afternoon, after BSX this morning slashed its full-year revenue forecast. The medical device maker now expects annual sales of $7.624 billion to $7.724 billion, down from its previous guidance of $7.675 billion to $7.875 billion.

Heading into the earnings report, traders seemed to have high hopes for BSX. During the past 10 days, options players on the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) have bought to open 6.61 calls for every put on BSX. This ratio arrives in the 72nd annual percentile, confirming an unusually healthy appetite for bullish bets over bearish during the past couple of weeks.

LVLT price chartMeanwhile, LVLT is actually a total ringer on the new-highs roster. The communications services company today completed its planned transition to the NYSE from the Nasdaq, as well as a 1-for-15 reverse stock split. So, the stock peaked today at a nominal new high of $24.45, easily surpassing its previous peak of $2.67. However, on a split-adjusted basis, LVLT's current annual high actually stands at $40.05... so, the shares snuck in on a technicality.

Checking out LVLT's newly revised charts, the stock boasts a healthy year-to-date gain of about 57%. Nevertheless, the shares have spent the better part of the past two months trending lower beneath resistance at their 10-week and 20-week moving averages. These formerly supportive trendlines have pressured LVLT lower since August -- suggesting the stock might not find its way to a bona fide new high for quite some time.

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