Buzz Stocks: Keurig, JCPenney, United States Steel

Today's stocks to watch in the news include Keurig Green Mountain Inc (GMCR), J C Penney Company Inc (JCP), and United States Steel Corporation (X)

Jan 7, 2015 at 9:05 AM
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Futures are pointed sharply higher this morning, ahead of the Federal Open Market Committee's (FOMC) latest meeting minutes. In company news, today's stocks to watch include coffee-pod peddler Keurig Green Mountain Inc (NASDAQ:GMCR), retailer J C Penney Company Inc (NYSE:JCP), and commodities concern United States Steel Corporation (NYSE:X).

  • According to The Wall Street Journal, GMCR has signed a deal with Dr Pepper Snapple Group Inc. (NYSE:DPS) to create capsules of the latter's soda brands for an upcoming cold-beverage machine. Keurig Green Mountain Inc will also reportedly make its own drink pods for the system, as it does for its single-serve coffee brewers. The news has GMCR shares -- which have rallied nearly 60% year-over-year to trade at $127.19 -- up 3% ahead of the bell. On the sentiment front, however, there's still plenty of negativity flowing toward GMCR. For instance, the majority of the 13 analysts covering the stock rate it a "hold" or worse -- which could pave the way for a round of upgrades, and intensify buying power.

  • JCP's same-store sales for the holiday period jumped 3.7% year-over-year, pointing to what may turn out to be the best late-year shopping season since 2011. Additionally, the department store operator predicted comparable-store sales growth for the current quarter to register at the upper end of its 2-4% guidance range. On the charts, while the shares are down nearly 20% year-over-year to perch at $6.56, they're pointed roughly 22% higher in electronic trading. This potential bullish gap is bad news for short sellers -- of which there are many. Nearly 36% of JCP's float is sold short, which would take upwards of one week to buy back, at typical daily trading volumes.

  • Finally, X plans to lay off more than 700 workers at steel plants in Ohio and Texas, The Wall Street Journal reported. The company said weak market conditions -- led by the downturn in oil prices -- have pressured it to downsize. Also facing pressure are shares of United States Steel Corporation, which have shed 16.5% in the last year to rest at $24.58 (though they've gained 1.7% in electronic trading this morning). Short sellers are banking on additional downside, as nearly 28% of X's float is dedicated to short interest. At the stock's average trading volumes, it would take roughly a week to cover these shorted shares.

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