Buzz Stocks: Deere, QUALCOMM, Noodles & Company

Today's stocks to watch in the news include Deere & Company (DE), QUALCOMM, Inc. (QCOM), and Noodles & Co (NDLS)

Feb 20, 2015 at 10:12 AM
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Markets headed lower out of the gate, as caution sets in ahead of today's key meeting between Greece and Germany. Meanwhile, among specific equities in focus are farm equipment specialist Deere & Company (NYSE:DE), digital communications specialist QUALCOMM, Inc. (NASDAQ:QCOM), and casual restaurateur Noodles & Co (NASDAQ:NDLS).

  • DE is down 1.6% this morning, as an uninspiring equipment sales forecast overshadows a fiscal first-quarter profit win. Overall, it's been a strong month for shares of DE -- thanks in part to a Buffett-related burst earlier this week -- which have tacked on 6% to trade at $90.21. However, sentiment around the Street is tilted toward the skeptical side. More than three-quarters of covering analysts maintain a "hold" or worse suggestion on Deere & Company, while a healthy 10% of the stock's available float is sold short.

  • A former executive for QCOM pleaded guilty to insider trading on Thursday. The news seems to be having no effect on the stock, which is fractionally higher today to linger near $71.00. Technically speaking, QCOM has been gaining ground in February, tacking on 13.7%. However the shares have recently run into resistance at their 40-day moving average -- currently located at $71.25 -- and it appears options traders are gambling on this trendline to continue to serve as an overhead ceiling. 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 0.64 ranks in the 75th annual percentile, meaning puts have been bought to open over calls at a faster-than-usual clip.

  • NDLS has plunged 28% today, after a worse-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings report and disappointing outlook was met with a round of bearish brokerage notes. Piper Jaffray, for example, lowered its price target by $7 to $25, while Baird slashed its target price by $10 to $21, and reduced its rating to "neutral" from "outperform." Year-over-year, the stock has shed roughly 46% -- and more downgrades and/or price-target cuts could be on the horizon. Five out of 11 analysts covering the shares maintain a "strong buy" recommendation, with not a single "sell" to be found. Plus, the average 12-month price target of $28.45 for Noodles & Co represents expected upside of 42% to the stock's current perch at $20.07.

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