Buzz Stocks: Microsoft Corporation, Insperity, and Qualcomm

Today's stocks to watch in the news include Microsoft Corporation (MSFT), Insperity Inc (NSP), and QUALCOMM, Inc. (QCOM)

Jan 21, 2015 at 9:25 AM
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U.S. stocks are pointed lower in electronic trading, hurt by discouraging comments from one European Central Bank official. In company news, today's stocks to watch include blue chip Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT), HR solutions provider Insperity Inc (NYSE:NSP), and digital communications expert QUALCOMM, Inc. (NASDAQ:QCOM).

  • MSFT will unveil its Windows 10 operating system today at an event held at its home office. One of the biggest changes anticipated is a shift away from the company's Internet Explorer browser to a new one named Spartan -- expected to resemble Google Inc's (NASDAQ:GOOGL) Chrome. Moving to the charts, Microsoft Corporation is a long-term outperformer, advancing more than 28% year-over-year to trade at $46.39. However, options traders have been relatively bearish of late, based on the stock's 10-day International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) put/call volume ratio of 0.75 -- which ranks in the 79th annual percentile. Looking ahead, MSFT will report earnings after the close next Monday.

  • NSP is facing pressure from activist investor Starboard Value LP -- which disclosed a 13.2% stake in the company -- to consider the possibility of a sale. Additionally, Starboard offered suggestions for Insperity Inc -- which it considers "deeply undervalued" -- to streamline operations and reduce expenses. Technically speaking, the stock has performed well since gapping down to $31.25 in mid-December, rallying more than 16% to land at $36.34. In fact, NSP tagged an annual high of $36.45 yesterday. Nevertheless, the brokerage crowd is decidedly skeptical toward NSP, with 80% of covering analysts levying tepid "hold" recommendations on the shares. Also, the equity's consensus 12-month price target of $34.75 is below current trading levels. As such, a round of upgrades and/or price-target hikes could usher in a fresh wave of buying power. Ahead of the open, the shares are sitting more than 8% higher.

  • Finally, QCOM is down roughly 3% ahead of the bell, following news that Samsung Electronics Co. will drop the firm's Snapdragon microprocessor from the upcoming Galaxy S smartphone. The chip reportedly overheated during testing, prompting Samsung's decision to use its own microprocessors in the handheld. Moving along, QUALCOMM, Inc. -- which will report fiscal first-quarter earnings next Wednesday night -- is staring at a year-over-year loss of nearly 4% to trade at $72.48. If the shares continue to struggle, another round of downgrades could ensue. After all, 17 out of 23 analysts covering QCOM have doled out "buy" or better recommendations, compared to six "holds" and not a single "sell."

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