Buzz Stocks: GM, Linn Energy, and Las Vegas Sands

Today's stocks to watch include General Motors Company (GM), Linn Energy LLC (LINE), and Las Vegas Sands Corp. (LVS)

Jan 2, 2015 at 9:14 AM
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Much like The Ohio State Buckeyes, the major market indexes are set to start 2015 on a high note. Among the equities in focus are automaker General Motors Company (NYSE:GM), oil-and-gas issue Linn Energy LLC (NASDAQ:LINE), and casino concern Las Vegas Sands Corp. (NYSE:LVS).

  • GM is kicking off 2015 how it spent most of last year: issuing recalls. The Detroit darling issued a trio of new recalls involving nearly 84,000 pickup trucks and SUVs, due to potentially faulty ignition switches. General Motors Company surrendered nearly 15% in 2014, compared to the S&P 500 Index's (SPX) 11.4% rally, pressured beneath its 10- and 20-month moving averages. The equity, docked at $34.91, is currently battling the latter of these trendlines, and a series of downgrades or a reversal in sentiment among options traders could smack the shares lower. Currently, seven out of 13 analysts maintain "buy" or better ratings, and bullish betting on the major exchanges is near fever pitch. On the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), the stock's 10-day call/put volume ratio of 3.27 stands higher than 92% of all other readings from the past year.

  • LINE is bracing for a 5.7% drop out of the gate, and will likely explore record lows in single-digit territory. In the wake of crude oil's plunge, the firm today said it more than halved its annual budget for oil and natural gas spending. In addition, Linn Energy LLC slashed its annual dividend to $1.25 from $2.90 per share. LINE has been a broad-market laggard, to say the least, underperforming the SPX by about 66 percentage points during the past three months. The stock touched an all-time low of $9.17 in mid-December, and finished not far off that on Wednesday, at $10.13. Against this backdrop, it's not surprising to find put buying is on the incline, as the equity's 50-day ISE/CBOE/PHLX put/call volume ratio of 2.05 registers in the 85th percentile of its annual range.

  • Finally, LVS is pointed modestly lower in pre-market action, on reports that calendar-year gambling revenue in Macau declined for the first time in 2014, with Decembers 30.4% plunge marking the seventh straight month-over-month drop. On the charts, LVS dropped almost 27% in 2014, with rebound attempts stymied by its 10- and 20-week moving averages. The shares -- which finished at $58.16 on Wednesday -- could be at risk for negative analyst notes, as eight out of 14 brokerage firms uphold "strong buy" opinions, with not a "sell" in sight. Plus, the consensus 12-month price target of $71.16 sits in territory not charted since August.

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