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Wall Street is awash in black ink this afternoon, as investors cheer the latest round of international central bank chatter. With all systems go, the number of stocks falling to fresh lows is limited. At last glance, the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) had tallied eight equities meeting new bottoms, versus 25 on the Nasdaq. Among those securities finding a new bottom are Smithfield Foods, Inc. (NYSE:SFD - 17.87), Heckmann Corporation (NYSE:HEK - 2.66), and Scientific Games Corp (NASDAQ:SGMS - 7.05).
Meat producer SFD fell to a new annual low of $17.55 right out of the gate, after Morgan Stanley cut its outlook on the stock to "underweight" from "overweight" this morning. The security has continued to wallow in the red throughout today's session, and was down roughly 2.9% at last check. SFD is now sporting a year-to-date deficit of 26.4%, attracting the attention of put players and short sellers alike. Specifically, the equity's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 1.65 ranks in the 83rd percentile of its annual range, implying short-term speculators are more put-heavy than usual toward the stock. Additionally, short interest rose 15% in the past month, and now accounts for a healthy 7.2% of the equity's available float.
HEK is down more than 21% heading into the final hours of the session, after the waste management company chose not to provide a full-year fiscal outlook with the release of its second-quarter results. The bevy of bearish brokerage notes that hit the stock this morning certainly didn't help HEK's case, and the shares fell all the way down to the $2.62 mark -- a new all-time nadir. HEK's trouble on the charts has been standard of late, though, with the shares down more than 56% on a year-over-year basis. Additional analyst-related headwinds could lie ahead. No fewer than five out of seven analysts still maintain a "strong buy" recommendation toward the equity, and the average 12-month price target of $5.07 represents a staggering 90% premium above the security's current price.
Shares of SGMS have fallen almost 16% in today's session on their own earnings- and brokerage-related woes, bringing their loss in 2012 to a brow-raising 27.3%. For the third quarter, the lottery machine maker swung to a loss of six cents per share on revenue of $229.3 million. These results fell short of analyst expectations, prompting a round of early morning downgrades and price-target cuts. Today's post-earnings plunge pushed the shares to a nine-year low of $5.53, and this sad state of technical affairs could cause some stirring among bullish option players. In fact, over the course of the past 50 trading sessions, traders at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) have bought to open 104.72 calls for every put on SGMS. Plus, this ratio ranks higher than 89% of other such annual readings, implying bullish bets have been scooped up over bearish at an accelerated clip in recent months.
Keep reading to see what was on today's new highs.