Stocks quoted in this article:
Firstar (FSR - 24-3/8) owns and operates around 1,200 banks in Midwestern states. FSR shares are trading over four percent higher today after reporting first-quarter earnings of 35 cents per share, matching the consensus estimate of Wall Street analysts. Additionally, FSR officials announced the approval of a 100-million share buyback program. The firm currently has 970 million shares outstanding. Today's rally in the stock has taken it within striking distance of resistance at its overhead 10-month moving average. FSR has been trading beneath this long-term moving average since early November. On the options front, Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) on FSR stands at 0.32, which, on a relative basis, is fairly high for the equity. This reading ranks in the 86th percentile of all annual readings, suggesting a fair amount of pessimism from the speculative crowd. Shortly after noon, FSR was trading at its intraday high.