Buzz Stocks: Citigroup, Wal-Mart Stores, Aegerion Pharma

Today's stocks to watch include C, WMT, and AEGR

Oct 31, 2014 at 9:20 AM
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The market is ready to rally this morning, after the Bank of Japan (BoJ) announced a fresh stimulus plan overnight. Among specific equities to watch today are financial firm Citigroup Inc (NYSE:C), retailer Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT), and drugmaker Aegerion Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:AEGR).

  • C downwardly revised its third-quarter profit to $2.8 billion from $3.4 billion -- resulting in a per-share decrease of 19 cents to 88 cents -- due to a "$600 million increase in legal accruals." Additionally, Citigroup Inc said it is being investigated by five domestic and international agencies over its forex operations. On the charts, the equity has rallied more than 10% since hitting an intraday low of $48.11 -- two sessions after it initially unveiled its third-quarter results -- toppling the round-number $50 mark along the way. This uptrend hasn't convinced option traders, though, as evidenced by C's 10-day International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) put/call volume ratio of 0.70, which ranks just 7 percentage points from an annual bearish peak. On Thursday, C closed at $53.15.

  • It's Halloween, but retailers like WMT and Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) have their sights set on the holiday shopping season. This weekend, in fact, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. is unveiling its first round of massive price cuts, attempting to lure in an early round of bargain hunters ahead of its rivals. Technically speaking, WMT is sitting on a 2.8% year-to-date deficit, but is positioned to pare a portion of this in today's session, with the stock up about 0.7% ahead of the bell. Option traders are keeping the faith, per the equity's 10-day ISE/CBOE/PHLX call/put volume ratio of 5.53, which ranks higher than all other readings taken in the past year. Analysts, meanwhile, are more skeptical -- the consensus 12-month price target of $78.84 for WMT stands just 3.1% above the equity's current perch at $76.45.

  • AEGR is poised for a 32% plunge out of the gate -- and to hit a new annual low -- after the company reported worse-than-expected third-quarter earnings, and downwardly revised its full-year revenue forecast. The news was met with a round of bearish brokerage notes, including a downgrade to "hold" from "buy" at Needham, and a price-target cut to $25 from $36 at Cowen and Company. Today's projected price move only echoes the withstanding technical troubles of a stock that's shed nearly 52% in 2014 to churn near $34.21. Should the security's struggles continue, analysts could continue to reduce their ratings on Aegerion Pharmaceuticals, Inc. At present, 88% of those covering the shares maintain a "strong buy" suggestion, with not a single "sell" to be found. Additionally, the average 12-month price target of $57.33 sits at a 68% premium to present trading levels, and in territory not charted since early March.
 

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