Buzz Stocks: Aruba Networks, Inc., NXP Semiconductors N.V., and Visa Inc.

Today's stocks to watch in the news include Aruba Networks, Inc. (ARUN), NXP Semiconductors NV (NXPI), and Visa Inc (V)

by Alex Eppstein

Published on Mar 2, 2015 at 9:42 AM
Updated on Apr 20, 2015 at 5:32 PM

U.S. stocks are higher in early trading following China's weekend rate cut -- and ahead of a number of domestic economic reports. In company news, today's stocks to watch include network access specialist Aruba Networks, Inc. (NASDAQ:ARUN), chipmaker NXP Semiconductors NV (NASDAQ:NXPI), and credit card titan Visa Inc (NYSE:V).

  • ARUN will be purchased by Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE:HPQ) for approximately $2.7 billion in cash. "By combining Aruba's world-class wireless mobility solutions with HP's leading switching portfolio, HP will offer the simplest, most secure networking solutions to help enterprises easily deploy next-generation mobile networks," said HPQ CEO Meg Whitman in a statement. Out of the gate, shares of Aruba Networks, Inc. are down 1.6% at $24.41, as Friday's close at $24.81 stands at a modest premium to HPQ's offer price of $24.67 per share. The stock reached an annual high of $24.97 on Friday, thanks to the since-confirmed rumors of a potential deal with HPQ. Elsewhere, short sellers have zeroed in on ARUN in recent weeks, with short interest jumping 9.4% during the most recent reporting period. Roughly one-tenth of the equity's float is now sold short, which would take close to a week to buy back, at its average daily trading volume.

  • NXPI has agreed to an $11.8 billion cash-and-stock deal to acquire Freescale Semiconductor Ltd (NYSE:FSL). NXP Semiconductors NV will also take on FSL's debt, bringing the total purchase price to roughly $16.7 billion. The news has NXPI shares up 14.3% this morning at $97, and fresh off a record high of $97.24. On the sentiment front, the brokerage crowd has taken a shine to NXPI, with 11 out of 13 covering analysts handing out "buy" recommendations -- compared to two "holds" and not a single "sell."

  • Finally, V has agreed to become Costco Wholesale Corporation's (NASDAQ:COST) next credit card provider, replacing American Express Company (NYSE:AXP). The exclusive deal will take effect April 1, 2016. Visa Inc shares have tacked on 1.3% this morning to trade at $274.86, bringing their year-over-year lead to 24.1%. In fact, the stock earlier hit a record high of $277.49. As V's muscled higher, the brokerage bunch has come to tilt in a decisively bullish direction. Specifically, 80% of covering analysts rate the shares a "buy" or better.

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