Stocks quoted in this article:
U.S. equities are wading in negative terrain this afternoon, as Wall Street contemplates a potential bailout request from economically challenged Spain. Regardless of this uncertainty, the number of stocks reaching new annual highs is overshadowing those at fresh lows. On the NYSE, there are 122 securities at annual peaks, compared to 15 bottoms. Meanwhile, there are 70 annual highs and 20 lows over on the Nasdaq. Among the names making notable runs today are Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (NYSE:AMD - 3.21), Amgen, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMGN - 86.29), Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG - 754.37), and MetroPCS Communications Inc (NYSE:PCS - 13.60).
- First up, AMD has taken a beating on the charts in 2012, plummeting 39.3% since January, and lagging the broader S&P 500 Index (SPX) by more than 55 percentage points during the past three months. And things got even worse this morning, as the shares dipped to a three-year low of $3.17 after FBR Capital weighed in on the semiconductor sector. Specifically, the brokerage thinks chip stocks will suffer from several different factors, including an economic slowdown in China and Europe, faltering demand for PCs, and weaker auto production trends. In fact, FBR cited AMD as one of the companies that could suffer the most. Looking deeper at the sentiment picture, there is already of plenty of pessimism levied against the security, as 21 out of 26 analysts consider it a "hold" or worse. Plus, short traders continue to up the bearish ante. Short interest ballooned 22.4% over the past month, and now makes up 20.2% of AMD's available float.
- Moving on, biotech issue AMGN saw a seven-year best of $86.59 today, augmenting its 32.5% year-to-date gain. Considering this overall uptrend, it's rather surprising to find the options crowd displaying doubt toward the shares. AMGN's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 1.26 ranks in the 88th percentile of its annual range, which means that short-term options players have been more put-heavy just 12% of the time during the past year.
- Search-engine guru GOOG surged to an all-time best of $765.99 this morning, surpassing Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) in market capitalization. However, the shares have retreated below the breakeven mark this afternoon, which could be a sign of new challenges brewing for the tech behemoth. On the charts, GOOG has notched a 17% rise since the beginning of the year, and has outpaced the SPX by more than 21 percentage points during the past 60 sessions. Consequently, GOOG's Relative Strength Index (RSI) now sits at 82 -- in overbought territory -- suggesting a pullback could be ahead for the equity.
- Lastly, mobile communications provider PCS was lifted to a 14-month peak of $14.51 today, as word hit the Street that Deutsche Telekom's T-Mobile business is interested in combining U.S. operations with the Texas-based company. On a year-to-date basis, the stock has enjoyed a 32.7% upswing, but has yet to grab the full attention of the brokerage bunch. PCS tallies four "strong buys," versus 17 lukewarm "holds," and one "sell" suggestion. Moreover, the average 12-month price target of $9.99 is $4.52 discount to today's new high.
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