Dow Stock Lands Bull Note Ahead of Earnings

Analysts are leaning bullish toward the drug name

Managing Editor
Oct 15, 2018 at 10:50 AM
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Shares of Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) are modestly higher in mid-morning trading, the Dow name seeing a slight lift from an early morning price-target hike to $154 from $150 at BMO. Plus, traders are gearing up for the drug giant's third-quarter report, which is scheduled to surface before the market opens, tomorrow, Oct. 16. At last check, JNJ is up 0.9%, at $135.04.

On the charts, Johnson & Johnson stock surged to a record high of $148.3 back in January, but quickly gave back those gains and in late May fell to an annual low of $118.62. As of late, the shares have slightly recovered, and have now fallen in line with a 50% Fibonacci retracement of the stock's January high and mid-year low. From a broader perspective, the blue chip name remains a few points below breakeven year-to-date.

Daily Chart of JNJ with Fib Levels

Digging into its earnings history, JNJ closed lower the day after reporting in five of the last eight quarters, but did manage a 3.5% swing higher after its mid-July report. Looking broader, the shares have averaged a 2.7% move the day after earnings over the last two years, regardless of direction. This time around, JNJ options are pricing in a larger-than-usual 4% swing for Tuesday's trading.

Meanwhile, data from the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), shows JNJ sporting a 10-day call/put volume ratio of 2.65, which ranks in the 80th percentile of its annual range. In other words, calls have been purchased over puts at a faster-than-usual clip during the past two weeks of trading.

As per analyst sentiment, a majority of those following the security have "buy" or better ratings. What's more, the stock's average 12-month price target of $144.32 comes in at a 7% premium to current levels.

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