Schaeffer's Trading Floor Blog

New Annual Highs: TJX, MO, AMRN, and VRSN

The TJX Companies, Altria Group, Amarin, and VeriSign cruise to new highs

by 7/5/2012 1:04 PM
Stocks quoted in this article:

Most of the major indexes have drifted into the red today, hampered by round of lackluster economic reports on the home front.. Even so, a large number of stocks have bucked the broader trend lower to reach for new annual highs. At last check, the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) shows 207 stocks at new peaks, while the Nasdaq has 99 at fresh highs. Among the equities tagging 12-month highs in today's trading are The TJX Companies, Inc. (NYSE:TJX - 44.14), Altria Group, Inc. (NYSE:MO - 34.77), Amarin Corporation plc (NASDAQ:AMRN - 15.45), and VeriSign, Inc. (NASDAQ:VRSN - 44.86).

  • While a number of retailers reported soft sales for June, discount retailer TJX boasted a better-than-expected 7% rise in same-store sales, and upwardly revised its second-quarter and full-year guidance. As such, the stock has enjoyed a 4% boost today, touching a new high of $44.63, and pushing its year-over-year gain to over 64%. However, TJX puts currently prevail over calls, as its Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) stands at 2.01 -- confirming that puts more than double calls among the equity's front three-months' series of options. This ratio ranks in the bearishly skewed 84th annual percentile, pointing to a healthier-than-usual appetite for puts over calls among near-term traders.

  • Tobacco giant MO has edged down about 0.6% today, but not before tagging a fresh peak of $35.10 earlier this morning. Although the stock is sitting on a 12-month advance of almost 31%, there has been plenty of skeptical scrutiny lately, as short interest on the equity skyrocketed by more than 161% during the past two reporting periods. However, there is still plenty of room aboard the security's bearish ship, as these shorted shares make up less than 3% of MO's available float. Meanwhile, the stock's Relative Strength Index (RSI) stands at 81, placing it in overbought territory.

  • Shares of AMRN rose to a new high of $15.60 early in the session, after receiving a Notice of Allowance by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office supporting the use of its fish-oil heart pills earlier this week. With the stock's year-to-date gain of more than 106%, bullish options player have been descending upon AMRN in droves. The 10-day International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) call/put volume ratio stands at 14.32, confirming that traders have bought to open more than 14 calls for every put during the last two weeks. This ratio ranks higher than 79% of other readings taken over the past year, indicating that speculators have been picking up calls over puts at an accelerated clip.

  • VRSN has tacked on about 1.3% today to reach a new high of $45.05 -- extending its 52-week climb to over 31%. The Internet infrastructure services provider seems to be a favorite among the bulls, as its 20-day ISE/CBOE/PHLX call/put volume ratio checks in at 4.50 -- conveying that calls bought to open have more than quadrupled puts during the past four weeks. What's more, the equity's SOIR rests at 0.51, meaning that calls nearly double puts among options scheduled to expire over the next three months. This ratio registers in only the 21st percentile of its annual range, signaling that traders have been more call-heavy toward VRSN less than one-fourth of the time during the past year.
Click here to check out the new low list, which includes Nokia Corporation (NYSE:NOK).

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