Buzz Stocks: Geron, Baker Hughes, and BlackBerry

Today's stocks to watch in the news include GERN, BHI, and BBRY

Nov 14, 2014 at 9:28 AM
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U.S. stocks are holding steady this morning, as speculators digest reports on retail sales and consumer sentiment. Among the equities in focus are biopharmaceutical firm Geron Corporation (NASDAQ:GERN), oil-and-gas issue Baker Hughes Incorporated (NYSE:BHI), and smartphone maker BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY), which have all unveiled new partnerships.

  • GERN is poised to pop 38.5%, after the firm licensed its cancer compound, imetelstat, to Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) for up to $935 million -- $35 million of which will be paid upfront. As a result, Piper Jaffray upgraded its opinion of GERN to "overweight." Today's upside could gain momentum as the shorts hit the bricks, as short interest represents 17.7% of Geron Corporation's total available float. In fact, it would take more than 13 sessions to repurchase these pessimistic positions, at the equity's average daily trading volume. Prior to today, GERN was sitting on a 48.4% year-to-date deficit at $2.31, with rebound attempts stifled by the stock's 50-week moving average.

  • BHI is headed 5% higher, as traders applaud preliminary merger talks with oil titan Halliburton Company (NYSE:HAL). The buzz hit the Street in the final hour of yesterday's session, sending the shares of Baker Hughes Incorporated 15.2% higher to land at $58.75 -- just short of their 10-week moving average, which hasn't been toppled on a weekly closing basis since late July. Prior to that, BHI had been churning in the $52-$54 area -- and in the red on a year-to-date basis -- as crude oil plumbed multi-year lows. As such, option buyers were growing increasingly skeptical, as evidenced by the stock's 50-day put/call volume ratio of 1.30 on the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) -- in the 91st percentile of its annual range.

  • Finally, BBRY yesterday debuted its BES 12 platform, and announced a "very serious relationship" with South Korea's Samsung Electronics to offer a "highly secure mobility solution" for Android devices, starting next year. However, the company has no immediate plans to take on the massive Chinese market, and expects it would generate "better returns going into a different set of markets that we are already in, like India, South Asia, and Southeast Asia," CEO John Chen said. In light of the Samsung deal, BBRY shares bolted 7% higher yesterday, landing at $12.06 -- in territory not charted since August 2013. A flood of upgrades could add fuel to the equity's fire, as not one of the 20 analysts following the stock deems it worthy of a "buy" or better rating. Furthermore, price-target hikes could be on the horizon, as the consensus 12-month price target of $10.37 represents a discount to the stock's current perch. In fact, J.P. Morgan Securities this morning upped its target to $13 from $10, suggesting the tide could be shifting.

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