Buzz Stocks: Apple, Herbalife, and Procter & Gamble

Today's stocks to watch in the news include AAPL, HLF, and PG

Nov 3, 2014 at 9:18 AM
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The major market indexes are pointed lower ahead of the open, due to a disappointing round of overseas data. In company news, today's stocks to watch include iPhone parent Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), nutritional supplements marketer Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE:HLF), and consumer packaged goods giant Procter & Gamble Co (NYSE:PG).

  • According to The Wall Street Journal, AAPL is conducting an investor call today in advance of a possible bond sale. The report says the firm may issue the bonds in euros, which would be the first time Apple Inc. has sold bonds in a currency other than U.S. dollars. On the charts, the shares -- which settled at $108 on Friday -- are sitting just below peak front-month call open interest at the 110 strike, which could translate into a layer of technical resistance going forward. Should that happen -- or the aforementioned investor call deliver disappointing news -- AAPL could face a potential round of downgrades. After all, 27 out of 33 covering analysts rate the stock a "buy" or better, versus just six "holds" -- with not a single "sell" recommendation to be found.

  • Ahead of tonight's third-quarter earnings release, HLF has agreed to shell out $15 million to settle a California-based lawsuit, in which the company was accused of operating a "pyramid scheme." "We are fully confident that we would have prevailed" had the case gone to trial, Herbalife Ltd. General Counsel Mark Friedman opined. "Settling this matter, however, is in the company's best interest as it allows us to put it behind us and focus on the future growth of the company." Technically speaking, the shares have struggled in 2014, giving back roughly one-third of their value to rest at $52.46. Not surprisingly, short sellers have been doubling down on bets against HLF, as 47.5% of the stock's float is sold short.

  • Finally, Argentina has accused PG of tax fraud, and suspended the company's operations within the country. Specifically, the South American nation alleged Procter & Gamble Co overbilled $138 million in imports to help evade taxes, and promised "to put an end to these tricks used by international companies." PG claims it "pays all the taxes we owe in every country and jurisdiction, worldwide." Meanwhile, on the charts, the stock has added a healthy 7.2% in 2014 to perch at $87.27, and last Friday touched a record high of $87.36. However, during the past 10 weeks at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), traders have been upping the bearish ante on PG. The equity's 50-day put/call volume ratio across this trio of exchanges is 1.44 -- or just 2 percentage points shy of an annual high. An unwinding of this pessimism could spell tailwinds for the shares.

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