Buzz Stocks: Susquehanna Bancshares Inc, Plug Power Inc, and Yahoo! Inc.

Today's stocks to watch in the news include SUSQ, PLUG, and YHOO

by Andrea Kramer

Published on Nov 12, 2014 at 9:13 AM
Updated on Apr 20, 2015 at 5:32 PM

U.S. stocks are set to retreat from record highs, with a handful of big banks facing major forex fines. One exception pointed higher: Susquehanna Bancshares Inc (NASDAQ:SUSQ), while alternative energy issue Plug Power Inc (NASDAQ:PLUG) and Internet titan Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO) are generating headlines of their own.

  • SUSQ is poised to surge nearly 33% out of the gate, thanks to a buyout bid from BB&T Corporation (NYSE:BBT). Specifically, the latter said it would acquire the former for about $2.5 billion in cash and stock, valuing SUSQ at about $13.50 per share -- a premium of 36.4% to the stock's closing price of $9.90 on Tuesday. A slew of short-term options speculators are likely primed to take profits; the stock's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) sits at an annual low of 0.20. In other words, Susquehanna Bancshares Inc's near-term options crowd hasn't been more call-biased during the past year, with a notable accumulation of calls at the soon-to-be in-the-money November 12.50 strike.

  • PLUG's options pits, meanwhile, may be less celebratory today, as the shares are set to plunge 16% in the wake of a poorly received third-quarter earnings report. In the two weeks leading up to this morning's quarterly release, Plug Power Inc option buyers had picked up 9.4 calls for every put on the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX). However, some of those calls may have been purchased to hedge short positions, as short interest accounts for nearly a quarter of PLUG's total available float. On the charts, the security has more than tripled in value in 2014, landing at $5.08 on Tuesday, but with today's drop will likely surrender a perch atop its 200-day moving average.

  • Finally, YHOO overnight said it agreed to buy BrightRoll for $640 million, which should make Yahoo! Inc's video-advertising platform "the largest in the U.S." In other news, some mega YHOO shareholders are campaigning for an AOL, Inc. (NYSE:AOL) merger to oust Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, according to Reuters. The shareholders are unhappy despite YHOO's stock appreciating by more than 200% since Mayer took office, settling at $49.05 on Tuesday. In fact, YHOO touched a 14-year peak of $49.63 on Monday, with help from a halo lift from Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (NYSE:BABA), of which Yahoo owns a stake. Echoing that pessimism, the equity's SOIR of 0.60 stands higher than 78% of all other readings from the past year, implying that short-term options traders are more put-aligned than usual. Should YHOO extend its journey into new-high territory, an exodus of bears could add fuel to the stock's fire.

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