Buzz Stocks: Caterpillar, Exxon Mobil Corp, Sony Corp

Today's stocks to watch include Caterpillar Inc. (CAT), Exxon Mobil Corporation (XOM), and Sony Corp (ADR) (SNE)

Feb 18, 2015 at 9:24 AM
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U.S. benchmarks are slightly lower ahead of the bell, as Wall Street awaits word on Greece's financial fate and the latest Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting minutes. Among the equities in focus are construction equipment maker Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE:CAT), oil-and-gas concern Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM), and electronics and entertainment issue Sony Corp (ADR) (NYSE:SNE).

  • CAT is modestly lower in pre-market action, after the firm disclosed an investigation into subsidiaries' movement of cash by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Since touching a three-year low of $78.81 in late January, Caterpillar Inc. has rebounded 8.3% to dock at $85.38. However, the equity is now staring up at its 40-day moving average, which acted as support in late 2014, but could switch roles to serve as resistance. While most analysts are skeptical of CAT -- just five out of 19 offer up a "strong buy" -- option traders have grown increasingly optimistic. 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 1.32 sits just 5 percentage points from an annual high.

  • XOM is poised to dip 1.2% at the open, on news that the Oracle of Omaha reduced his exposure to the blue chip. Specifically, Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway sold its 41 million shares of Exxon Mobil Corporation in the fourth quarter, according to a regulatory filing. On the charts, XOM has added 6.4% in February, landing at $93.05 on Tuesday. From a longer-term perspective, the stock has spent the past few months embarking on a series of lower highs, with support emerging in the $86-$87 neighborhood. Option buyers are skeptical of XOM, as the security's 10-day ISE/CBOE/PHLX put/call volume ratio of 2.22 stands higher than 86% of all other readings from the past year. As such, the equity's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 1.11 sits 7 percentage points from a 52-week peak, suggesting near-term traders have rarely been more put-heavy.

  • Finally, SNE is up 2.5% in electronic trading, after the firm unveiled ambitious long-term earnings guidance and plans to spin off its video and sound segment. The stock has added 57.4% over the past year, settling at $26.60 on Tuesday, and is on pace to overtake its three-year high of $27.46, tagged late last week. Nevertheless, option buyers have picked up Sony Corp puts over calls at a faster-than-usual clip recently, as the equity's 50-day ISE/CBOE/PHLX put/call volume ratio of 0.99 registers in the 88th percentile of its annual range.

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