Buzz Stocks: Manitowoc, American Apparel, and ICE

Today's stocks to watch in the news include MTW, APP, and ICE

Dec 29, 2014 at 8:55 AM
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U.S. stocks are on pace for a breather, as traders eye a snap election in Greece. Among the equities in focus are capital goods manufacturer Manitowoc Company Inc (NYSE:MTW), retailer American Apparel Inc (NYSEMKT:APP), and Big Board operator Intercontinental Exchange Inc (NYSE:ICE).

  • MTW is pointed 10% higher ahead of the bell, after Carl Icahn reported a 7.77% stake in the company, and said he's seeking a split of the firm's food-service equipment and cranes units. The shares of MTW have shed more than 10% in 2014, but after a recent bounce off support in the $16.50 region, finished last week atop their 10-week moving average -- a feat not accomplished since late July -- at $20.92. Despite the equity's longer-term struggles, option players have been upping the bullish ante in recent weeks. On the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), the security's 10-day call/put volume ratio has ascended to 5.17 -- higher than three-quarters of all other readings from the past year. In other words, speculators have bought to open Manitowoc Company Inc calls over puts at a faster-than-usual clip lately.

  • APP is set to jump 2% higher out of the gate, on reports that British firm Lion Capital is urging the company to explore a sale. Earlier this month, American Apparel Inc allegedly rejected a $1.40-per-share bid from Irving Place Capital, though rumors of the pursuit sent the equity soaring -- and out of penny-stock territory. APP, which settled at $1.06 on Friday, could benefit from a round of short-covering, should the bears hit the exits. Short interest accounts for 12.2% of the stock's total available float, representing nearly 13 sessions' worth of pent-up buying demand, at APP's average pace of trading.

  • Finally, ICE is allegedly mulling a sale or spinoff of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), sources told the New York Post. The company is apparently laying the groundwork to unload the NYSE as early as next year, which could result in the closure of the famous trading floor. On the charts, ICE has been chasing its early January (and record) highs for the latter half of 2014, but at $221.88, remains 1.4% below its year-to-date breakeven. Option traders have been buying Intercontinental Exchange Inc puts over calls at a faster-than-usual pace, either to gamble on or hedge against a pullback. The stock's 10-day ISE/CBOE/PHLX put/call volume ratio of 3.88 ranks in the 86th percentile of its annual range.

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