Buzz Stocks: Google, Honda Motor Co, JPMorgan Chase

Today's stocks to watch in the news include GOOGL, HMC, and JPM

Nov 4, 2014 at 9:19 AM
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U.S. stocks are pointed lower this morning, as sentiment sinks on a disappointing update from the European Commission and falling oil prices. In company news, today's stocks to watch include global tech firm Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL), Japanese automaker Honda Motor Co Ltd (ADR) (NYSE:HMC), and financial heavyweight JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM).

  • GOOGL, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), and Walt Disney Co (NYSE:DIS) have struck a deal allowing consumers who buy a DIS movie on Google Play or iTunes to play it on both the Android and iOS operating systems. Previously, once digital content was purchased from the online store of either GOOGL or AAPL, the user was locked into the corresponding hardware. Technically speaking, Google Inc hasn't done much to write home about in 2014, up just 0.5% to trade at $563.77. Nevertheless, the brokerage bunch remains extremely enamored with the stock. Twenty-seven out of 30 covering analysts rate GOOGL a "buy" or better, compared to three "holds" and not a single "sell." Plus, the equity's consensus 12-month price target of $650.05 stands in uncharted territory. In other words, the shares may be on the brink of downgrades, price-target reductions, and/or additional negative initiations.

  • The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is opening a probe to determine whether HMC failed to report injuries and deaths related to defective Takata air bags installed in its cars. Automakers are legally obligated to submit quarterly reports to the NHTSA, describing any incidents that may have resulted from faulty parts. On the news, shares of Honda Motor Co Ltd (ADR) are 3.4% lower ahead of the bell, adding to the stock's year-to-date deficit of 21.6%, as of Monday's close at $32.40. Not surprisingly, short-term options traders have displayed a stronger-than-usual preference for puts over calls lately, per HMC's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 1.10. Not only does this ratio signal that put open interest outweighs call open interest among options expiring in the next three months, it also ranks in the bearishly skewed 78th percentile of its annual range.

  • Finally, JPM is facing a potential legal loss of $5.9 billion, due to a Department of Justice criminal investigation into the bank's foreign-exchange trading practices. The financial firm is cooperating with authorities, but said there is "no assurance that such discussions will result in settlements." Elsewhere, shares of JPMorgan Chase & Co. have advanced a modest 4.1% this year to trade at $60.88 -- though they're within striking distance of their 14-year high of $61.85, touched in mid-September. Meanwhile, at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), traders have been buying to open puts over calls at a rapid-fire rate in recent weeks. JPM's 10-day put/call volume ratio of 1.26 across those exchanges ranks just 6 percentage points from a 52-week high.

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