Buzz Stocks: Auspex, FedEx Corp, and Sony Corp

Today's stocks to watch in the news include ASPX, FDX, and SNE

Dec 17, 2014 at 9:04 AM
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Futures are headed higher in electronic trading, ahead of this afternoon's policy statement from the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC). In company news, today's stocks to watch include drugmaker Auspex Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:ASPX), package delivery specialist FedEx Corporation (NYSE:FDX), and electronics guru Sony Corp (ADR) (NYSE:SNE).

  • ASPX is pointed nearly 83% higher ahead of the bell, following a successful late-stage trial on its chorea treatment. By reducing the involuntary movements associated with Huntington's disease -- a condition called chorea -- the drug (SD-809) significantly improved quality of life for patients, and reduced anxiety and depression rates. Moving to the charts, as of yesterday's close at $25.09, Auspex Pharmaceuticals Inc had advanced 67.3% since going public in early February. Not surprisingly, all seven brokerage firms covering the stock rate it a "strong buy," and its consensus 12-month price target of $41.83 sits in uncharted territory. This morning, in fact, a trio of analysts upped their price targets on ASPX -- BMO (to $60), Stifel (to $61), and Ladenburg (to $44) -- while reaffirming the equivalent of "buy" opinions.

  • FDX's fiscal second-quarter earnings rose year-over-year, but fell shy of the Street's consensus estimate. The firm also reiterated its 2015 per-share profit outlook of $8.50 to $9, anticipating benefits from lower fuel costs and moderate economic growth. Following these results, FedEx Corporation is down 3.7% in electronic trading, which would eat into its 21.2% year-to-date lead, based on Tuesday's close at $174.26. Ahead of the quarterly report, traders at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) had been betting bullishly. FDX's 10-day call/put volume ratio across this trio of exchanges is 1.59, in the 84th percentile of its annual range.

  • Finally, SNE is grabbing headlines this morning, as its movie studio announced it will likely release the anti-North Korea comedy "The Interview," despite opposition from a group of hackers called the Guardians of Peace. However, the New York premiere of the film has been canceled -- allegedly because the Guardians of Peace threatened a cyber attack against the hosting theater. As if that isn't enough, several former Sony Pictures Entertainment employees are now suing the studio for failing to protect their personal data, which was illegally stolen and publicized late last month by the aforementioned hackers. Taking a step back, parent company Sony Corp (ADR) has had a solid 2014, tacking on 14% to rest at $19.72. Nevertheless, the stock's 10-day ISE/CBOE/PHLX put/call volume ratio is docked at an annual high of 2.11, with more than two puts bought to open for every call in the last two weeks.

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