Stocks On the Move: Visa Inc, TASER International, Inc., and Twitter Inc

V, TASR, and TWTR are moving sharply in Thursday's trading

by Karee Venema

Published on Oct 30, 2014 at 12:44 PM
Updated on Apr 20, 2015 at 5:32 PM

Markets are mostly higher at midday, with credit card concern Visa Inc (NYSE:V) helping send the Dow to a triple-digit lead. Among other equities seeing notable moves are stun gun maker TASER International, Inc. (NASDAQ:TASR) and microblogging giant Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR). Here's a quick look at how V, TASR, and TWTR are performing on the charts so far.

  • V's better-than-expected fiscal fourth-quarter earnings report -- and upbeat outlook for the mobile payment industry -- was met with a round of price-target hikes, including one from Morgan Stanley, which upped its outlook by $22 to $270, while underscoring its "overweight" rating. FBR also weighed in, raising its recommendation on Visa Inc to "outperform" from "market perform." Against this backdrop, the shares have surged 9% to trade at $234.06 -- into the black on a year-to-date basis -- after earlier tagging a fresh record peak of $235.53. Today's bullish gap is most likely disappointing option traders, who had grown increasingly bearish on the equity in the months leading up to last night's report. At the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), for example, the stock's 50-day put/call volume ratio of 0.98 ranks just 6 percentage points from a 52-week peak.

  • Also surging in the wake of a strong earnings report is TASR, which was last seen 7.3% higher at $17.67. Heading into today's session, the stock was sitting on a modest 3.7% year-to-date gain, and should the security continue its post-earnings momentum, a capitulation from some of the weaker bearish hands could help propel TASR higher. On the options front, the equity's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 0.58 ranks in the 89th percentile of its annual range, meaning short-term speculators have rarely been as put-skewed toward TASR as they are now. Elsewhere, short interest jumped 28.2% over the past two reporting periods, and now accounts for more than 16% of the stock's available float. What's more, it would take more than four sessions to cover these bearish bets, at TASER International, Inc.'s average daily pace of trading.

  • TWTR is still reeling in the wake of its earnings report , and last night, was dealt another fundamental blow when it was reported two of the company's key executives were hitting the bricks. The stock is down 0.8% at $41.73 as a result, and earlier breached the round-number $40 mark for the first time since late July. Thanks to today's slide, the equity is on pace to log a weekly loss of more than 16%. Given Twitter Inc's recent struggles, the door is wide open for a round of downgrades and/or price-target cuts, which could pressure the shares even lower. In fact, more than half of analysts covering the security maintain a "buy" or "strong buy" rating, while the consensus 12-month price target of $52.06 stands at a 24.3% premium to current trading levels.

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