Early Edge: LinkedIn, Altera Corporation, Walgreens

Stocks making headlines today include LinkedIn Corp (LNKD), Altera Corporation (ALTR), and Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc (WBA)

Apr 9, 2015 at 10:49 AM
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Despite signaling a higher start, U.S. benchmarks are mostly lower as traders digest the first unofficial batch of quarterly earnings reports. Among the equities making an early splash on the Street are professional networking site LinkedIn Corp (NYSE:LNKD), semiconductor issue Altera Corporation (NASDAQ:ALTR), and pharmacy chain Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc (NASDAQ:WBA).

  • LNKD initially jumped out of the gate, but was last seen 1.4% lower at $248.82, after the firm announced plans to buy lynda.com for roughly $1.5 billion. From a longer-term perspective, LinkedIn Corp has spent the better part of the past year embarking on a series of higher highs and lows, and is now testing support atop its 80-day moving average. In the options pits, LNKD calls are trading at 1.5 times the average intraday pace, with buy-to-open action detected at the April 252.50 call. By purchasing the calls to open, the buyers expect LNKD to muscle back atop the strike by the close on Friday, April 17, when front-month options expire.

  • ALTR is also making M&A waves, amid reports that Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC) dropped its acquisition plans after the two couldn't agree on a price. In early action, ALTR shares are 3.1% lower at $40.69 -- and touched an intraday low of $38.67 out of the gate -- yet option players are remaining optimistic. Altera Corporation calls are trading at 36 times the typical intraday clip. Specifically, speculators are buying to open 45-strike calls in the April and May series, amid expectations for ALTR to climb atop the strike -- and into multi-year-high territory north of the stock's M&A-related gap -- by the respective expiration dates of April 17 and May 15.

  • Finally, WBA is up 2.5% at $89.86, and earlier notched a record high of $90.48, thanks to a solid earnings showing and cost-cutting efforts. The solid reaction is likely being applauded by Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc's recent crop of option bulls, and could inspire some new shorts to hit the exits. Short interest on WBA surged 21.3% during the most recent reporting period, though these bearish bets account for just 1.6% of the stock's total available float.

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