Buzz Stocks: Achillion Pharma, Qualcomm, Motorola

Today's stocks to watch in the news include Achillion Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (ACHN), QUALCOMM, Inc. (QCOM), and Motorola Solutions Inc (MSI)

by Karee Venema

Published on Feb 9, 2015 at 9:28 AM
Updated on Jul 1, 2020 at 4:55 PM

Futures are signaling a lower open, as traders cast a concerned eye overseas. Meanwhile, among specific stocks to watch are drugmaker Achillion Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:ACHN), as well as communications concerns QUALCOMM, Inc. (NASDAQ:QCOM) and Motorola Solutions Inc (NYSE:MSI).

  • ACHN is up 12.2% in electronic trading, following news the company's experimental hepatitis C drug -- ACH-3102 -- eliminated signs of the virus in six weeks, when combined with Gilead Sciences, Inc.'s (NASDAQ:GILD) Sovaldi during a clinical trial. This represents the shortest time frame and highest positive response rate of any similar two-drug treatment to date. On the charts, ACHN has stumbled since hitting its year-to-date high of $16.54 on Jan. 26, off 34.6% to trade at $10.82. Meanwhile, in the options pits, short-term speculators have shown a distinct preference for calls over puts, as evidenced by Achillion Pharmaceuticals, Inc.'s Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 0.40, which ranks in the 18th annual percentile.

  • QCOM is 2.6% higher ahead of the bell, amid reports the firm is close to resolving a 14-month antitrust probe with China -- which could result in the chipmaker paying a record-breaking $1 billion fine. Technically speaking, it's been a slow start to the year for QCOM, which is down 10.7% at $66.35. Against this backdrop, options traders -- and analysts -- have been upping the bearish ante in recent weeks. At the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), QUALCOMM, Inc.'s 10-day put/call volume ratio of 0.66 ranks in the 79th percentile of its annual range. Simply stated, puts have been bought to open over calls at a faster-than-usual clip of late.

  • MSI is poised to pop 8% out of the gate on reports the firm could put itself up for sale. The list of potential suitors is lengthy, and includes General Dynamics Corporation (NYSE:GD), Honeywell International Inc. (NYSE:HON), and Raytheon Company (NYSE:RTN). For most of the past few months, MSI has been chopping between $61.50 and $68, and closed Friday near the middle of this range, at $64.66. Options traders have been betting on a breakout, though. At the ISE, CBOE, and PHLX, MSI's 50-day call/put volume ratio of 5.35 ranks in the bullishly skewed 72nd annual percentile. Echoing this call-skewed bias is Motorola Solutions Inc's front-month gamma-weighted SOIR of 0.52, which indicates that near-the-money call open interest roughly doubles put open interest in the February-dated series of options.

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