Buzz Stocks: AOL Inc., Coach, Inc., and Minerva Neurosciences, Inc.

Today's stocks to watch in the news include AOL, Inc. (AOL), Coach Inc (COH), and Minerva Neurosciences Inc (NERV)

by Alex Eppstein

Published on Jan 6, 2015 at 9:06 AM
Updated on Apr 20, 2015 at 5:32 PM

The broad-market indexes look poised to rebound this morning, just a day after sharply selling off. In company news, today's stocks to watch include Web services company AOL, Inc. (NYSE:AOL), accessories designer Coach Inc (NYSE:COH), and biopharmaceutical issue Minerva Neurosciences Inc (NASDAQ:NERV).

  • AOL is nearly 4% higher this morning, with sources reporting that Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) has approached the firm about a possible acquisition or joint venture centered on its mobile-video offerings. VZ is reportedly trying to improve and expand in the areas of online content, mobile video, and advertising technology, and sees AOL Inc as a potential strategic partner -- although no deal is imminent. On the charts, AOL has been stair-stepping its way higher since hitting an annual low of $32.31 in early May, and settled yesterday at $44.74. Nevertheless, put buying has been popular on the Internet pioneer, which has racked up a 50-day put/call volume ratio of 0.84 at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX). This ratio is higher than nearly three-quarters of all other readings from the last year. Should these bearish bettors capitulate in the face of AOL's long-term uptrend, it could result in tailwinds.

  • COH has reached an agreement to buy Stuart Weitzman Holdings LLC -- a privately held luxury footwear designer -- for roughly $530 million, plus up to $44 million in contingent payments. Stuart Weitzman, which is currently owned by private equity firm Sycamore Partners, sells shoes in 70 countries and operates retail locations in the U.S. and Europe. While Coach Inc shares are pointed 1% higher ahead of the bell, the stock has dropped 34% year-over-year to rest at $36.73. Not surprisingly, the brokerage bunch is bearish toward the security, with 16 out of 21 covering analysts issuing "hold" or worse recommendations. Also, COH's consensus 12-month price target of $36.97 is just a chip-shot away from the current price. Looking ahead, the company is tentatively scheduled to report earnings later this month.

  • Finally, NERV is soaring ahead of the bell -- up about 62% -- after announcing promising trial results for its Parkison's drug, MIN-301. The treatment, which was administered to primates, appeared to reduce the involuntary movements caused by the disease -- potentially paving the way for human trials. Today's expected bullish gap will represent a break from Minerva Neurosciences Inc's withstanding trend on the charts, with the shares trading at $6 -- the same price at which they opened in early July, when the company went public. Meanwhile, positivity is flowing toward NERV from the brokerage bunch, with 100% of the analysts following the stock doling out a "strong buy" rating.

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