Buzz Stocks: Aruba Networks, NXP Semiconductors, Visa

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

Mar 2, 2015 at 9:42 AM
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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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