Stocks quoted in this article:
In the last two hours of trading, markets are running just below breakeven, as early optimism has been shrouded by a slip in U.S. manufacturing data. However, despite this backdrop, the number of equities reaching new highs today is overshadowing those at lows. The NYSE is reporting 135 new peaks and only six bottoms, compared to 48 tops and 23 fresh lows over on the Nasdaq. Among the stocks charting notable moves are Adobe Systems Incorporated (NASDAQ:ADBE - 34.65), Time Warner Inc. (NYSE:TWX – 46.96), and DreamWorks Animation SKG, Inc (NASDAQ:DWA - 16.29).
- This morning, software giant ADBE jumped to the $34.85 mark, marking its loftiest price in 19 months. The shares' 22.7% year-to-date climb has been helped recently by their uptrending 50-week moving average, which has served as a backstop since mid-July. If this overall rally is extended, the bearish brokerage holdouts could reconsider their current positions, and add to the momentum. The consensus 12-month price target of $35.44 is a slim premium to today's new high, while 13 of the 23 analysts following ADBE maintain a "hold" or worse recommendation.
- It's been a rather successful 2012 on the charts for TWX. On a relative-strength basis, the security has outperformed the broader S&P 500 Index (SPX) by 11 percentage points during the past three months. From a longer-term perspective, TWX has added roughly 30% since January. In fact, just after the open today, the shares snagged a five-year best of $47.64. Despite this impressive price action, the options arena is loaded with pessimism, as evidenced by the equity's 10-day put/call volume ratio of 2.00 on the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX). This reading ranks in the 98th percentile of its annual range, signaling traders on these exchanges have seldom made bearish bets over bullish at a faster pace during the past year. Even the short-term options crowd is more put-heavy than usual, as evidenced by the stock's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 4.41, which suggests that puts more than quadruple calls among options slated to expire within three months.
- Citing a lackluster opening weekend for DWA's Rise of the Guardians, Stifel Nicolaus cut its rating on the production company to "sell" from "hold," and is projecting the film to lose about $50 million. With that news, the equity took a tumble to an all-time worst of $16.23, erasing its year-to-date return. Elsewhere on the Street, the sentiment picture is rather bleak for the shares. DWA's SOIR of 1.56 is one percentage point from an annual pessimistic peak, suggesting that short-term speculators have rarely been more negatively aligned over the past 52 weeks. Meanwhile, nearly 28% of the stock's float is dedicated to short interest, and it would take over three weeks for all of these bearish bets to unwind.