Stocks quoted in this article:
Stocks are bouncing around breakeven this afternoon, as Wall Street contemplates corporate earnings season and a wider-than-expected November trade deficit. Nevertheless, the number of equities at new lows is being overshadowed by those jumping to new highs. Currently, there are 199 annual highs and two annual low on the NYSE, including a 17-month worst for FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE:FE) on a Goldman Sachs downgrade. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq counts 95 annual highs and six annual lows. Among the names charting notable moves higher are Oracle Corporation (NASDAQ:ORCL - 34.81), Walgreen Company (NYSE:WAG - 38.98), and Celgene Corporation (NASDAQ:CELG - 95.33).
- Earlier today, ORCL soared to the $35 mark, tagging its loftiest price since May 2011. Technically speaking, the stock has enjoyed a 29% upswing since last January, and has outpaced the broader S&P 500 Index (SPX) by more than 9 percentage points during the past three months. This overall uptrend has not gone unnoticed, as 20 out of 35 analysts deem the computer software and hardware developer worthy of a "buy" or better endorsement. Elsewhere on the Street, short interest has been on the decline, falling 13.4% over the most recent reporting period. Short interest now accounts for a mere 0.9% of ORCL's available float, which points to a rather meager supply of sideline cash.
- Drugstore chain operator WAG declared a regular quarterly dividend of 27.5 cents per share yesterday, increasing its payout by 22.2% from the year-ago dividend. Following the news, the stock leapt to a 17-month peak of $39.21 today, while augmenting its 14% 52-week return. Meanwhile, optimism is mounting in the options pits, as evidenced by WAG's 10-day call/put volume ratio of 3.02 on the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX). But this recent trend toward calls may not be as bullish as it would initially appear. Short interest on the equity ballooned 19.3% during the past two weeks. Therefore, it's possible that a portion of the recent call volume was the result of hedging activity by the shorts.
- CELG caught a lift from an upbeat analyst note this morning, as Lazard raised its price target by $33 to $123. As a result, the stock ran to the $95.93 level, marking an all-time acme for the biotech firm. CELG has been quite a standout on the charts, gaining more than 32% in the past year, and outperforming the SPX by nearly 20 percentage points throughout the past two months. And there could be additional price-target hikes on the horizon, especially if the shares continue to exceed analyst expectations. The consensus 12-month price target currently checks in at $90.67, which is a more than $5 discount to CELG's new record high.