Buzz Stocks: Costco Wholesale, Zynga, and TASER

Today's stocks to watch in the news include Costco Wholesale Corporation (COST), Zynga Inc (ZNGA), and TASER International, Inc. (TASR)

Apr 9, 2015 at 9:25 AM
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The major market indexes are sitting slightly higher this morning, following a ho-hum start to earnings season last night. In company news, today's stocks to watch include bulk retailer Costco Wholesale Corporation (NASDAQ:COST), social gaming issue Zynga Inc (NASDAQ:ZNGA), and security concern TASER International, Inc. (NASDAQ:TASR).

  • COST reported a steeper-than-expected decline in same-store sales for March. The company partially attributed the disappointing results to the Easter holiday, which translated into one fewer sales day than last year. In other news, COST issued a joint statement with Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (NYSE:BABA), cautioning Chinese businesses that Costco products sold outside of the Tmall Global store are unauthorized and subject to legal action. On the charts, Costco Wholesale Corporation is sitting 1% lower ahead of the bell. However, longer term, the stock's been a beast, adding 34.5% over the last 12 months to trade at $152. As such, bullish betting has been accelerated across the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) of late. COST's 10-day call/put volume ratio of 2.46 outranks 81% of comparable readings from the past year.

  • In a surprise move, ZNGA CEO Don Mattrick has resigned, and founder Mark Pincus will step into the post once again. The firm also said Mattrick, who intends on returning to Canada, will receive a $4 million payout. The change has been met with groans on the Street, where Zynga Inc is primed for a nearly 12% drop out of the gate -- which would wipe out its 9% year-to-date gain to perch at $2.90. However, the downward move may be music to the ears of put buyers, who have dominated ZNGA's options pits in recent months. Specifically, the equity's 50-day ISE/CBOE/PHLX put/call volume ratio registers at an annual high of 0.41.

  • The London Police Department has placed a 178-body camera order with TASR. David Lawes, superintendent of the police force, said the purchase is part of the department's "transformation in how we use technology to assist us with keeping the City safe." It's been a stellar year for TASER International, Inc., which has surged 45% over the last 52 weeks to linger at $25.16, and is pointed nearly 4% higher ahead of the open. Nevertheless, nearly one-quarter of the stock's float is sold short, which would take more than a week to cover, at TASR's typical trading levels. This could pave the way for a potential short-covering rally.

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