Buzz Stocks: Amazon.com, bluebird bio, and Conn's

Today's stocks to watch in the news are AMZN, BLUE, and CONN

Dec 9, 2014 at 9:17 AM
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U.S. markets are poised to follow their global counterparts into the red today, with futures decidedly lower. Among specific equities in focus are tech titan Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN), biotherapeutic firm bluebird bio Inc (NASDAQ:BLUE), and consumer products specialist Conn's, Inc. (NASDAQ:CONN).

  • AMZN is pointed lower ahead of the bell, as traders take a glass-half-empty approach to a pair of fundamental developments. Specifically, the company told the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) in a letter that it will move its drone research team outside of the U.S., unless regulations are relaxed. Elsewhere, Amazon.com, Inc. has offered a new haggling feature for consumers, allowing them to negotiate prices on higher-end items. Today's projected price move for AMZN is just more of the same, with the shares down 23.1% year-to-date to close at $306.64 on Monday. Going forward, an extended slide could prompt analysts to re-evaluate their ratings, which may pressure the shares lower. Currently, 60% of those covering the shares maintain a "buy" or better rating, with not a single "sell" to be found. Plus, the consensus 12-month price target of $357.16 stands at a 16.5% premium to present trading levels.

  • BLUE is ready to rally more than 56% out of the gate -- and to a fresh record high -- after the firm announced strong trial results for its blood disease drug LentiGlobin BB305. What's more, the news was met with no fewer than four price-target hikes -- including one from SunTrust Robinson, which doubled its target to $115 from $57, representing expected upside of 135% to last night's close at $48.89. Ahead of today's trading, the stock is already enjoying a 133% year-to-date lead, so it's no surprise to see sentiment tilted toward the bullish side. At the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), speculators have bought to open 13.60 calls for every put during the past 10 sessions. Additionally, all five analysts covering bluebird bio Inc maintain a "strong buy" rating.

  • CONN, meanwhile, is bracing for a 36% plunge -- and was earlier halted in pre-market action -- following news the company's chief financial officer has resigned, effective immediately, in the wake of withdrawn guidance and a planned management shake-up. Additionally, Conn's, Inc. said it swung to an unexpected loss in its fiscal third-quarter, and posted revenue that fell short of the consensus estimate. The stock has struggled on the charts in 2014, and is down more than 55% to trade at $35.09. Against this backdrop, traders have been upping the bearish ante. In the options pits, for example, CONN's 10-day ISE/CBOE/PHLX put/call volume ratio of 1.53 ranks in the 88th annual percentile. Elsewhere, short interest accounts for nearly 80% of the security's available float, and would take more than a month to cover, at CONN's average daily pace of trading.

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