Buzz Stocks: Kraft, Vascular Biogenics, and Apollo Edu

Today's stocks to watch include Kraft Foods Group Inc (KRFT), Vascular Biogenics Ltd (VBLT), and Apollo Education Group Inc (APOL)

Mar 25, 2015 at 9:27 AM
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Stocks are shaky ahead of the open, as traders keep their sights set on the volatile dollar. Among equities in focus are food and beverage issue Kraft Foods Group Inc (NASDAQ:KRFT), biotech name Vascular Biogenics Ltd (NASDAQ:VBLT), and education services provider Apollo Education Group Inc (NASDAQ:APOL).

  • KRFT is looking to jump 33.4% out of the gate -- and into uncharted territory -- after the company announced it will merge with H.J. Heinz Company -- partly owned by Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE:BRK.A) -- to form Kraft Heinz Company, the world's fifth largest food and beverage firm. Kraft Foods Group Inc shareholders will receive stock in the newly formed company, along with a special dividend of $16.50 per share. Looking back, the shares just touched an all-time high of $67.74 on Feb. 5, and have added 10% year-over-year, finishing yesterday at $61.33. Speculators are likely cheering the deal, as call buying has picked up recently. At the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), KRFT's 10-day call/put volume ratio of 25.42 outranks 92% of all similar readings from the past year.

  • VBLT is booming in electronic trading, up roughly 20%, on positive mid-stage developments from the company's cancer drug, VB-111. The firm also unveiled fourth-quarter earnings. The potential move would put the shares on the right side of breakeven in 2015, after closing yesterday at $5.59. Vascular Biogenics Ltd still has a way to go, though, if it wants to live up to analysts' expectations -- its average 12-month price target comes in at $13. Elsewhere, traders have been losing patience with the equity. Just in the past two reporting periods, short interest more than doubled.

  • A fifteenth straight quarterly drop in revenue in the fiscal second quarter and a weaker-than-expected revenue outlook for the current quarter has APOL 16% lower in pre-market action. The security has already been dreadful of late, plummeting 18% year-to-date to settle at $27.99 yesterday. Covering brokerage firms have in turn cast a skeptical eye toward Apollo Education Group Inc. Specifically, 80% of analysts tracking the shares deem them a "hold."

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