Buzz Stocks: Apple, General Electric, and Excel Trust

Today's stocks to watch in the news include Apple Inc. (AAPL), General Electric Company (GE), and Excel Trust Inc (EXL)

Apr 10, 2015 at 9:26 AM
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U.S. stocks are up in pre-market trading, putting them on track for a third straight winning session, and a second consecutive week in the black. In company news, today's stocks to watch include tech giant Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), diversified conglomerate General Electric Company (NYSE:GE), and real estate investment trust (REIT) Excel Trust Inc (NYSE:EXL).

  • While the Apple Watch won't be available for sale until Friday, April 24, AAPL's newest product arrived at a handful of stores around the globe for consumers to try on and pre-order. The reaction has reportedly been mixed, with the company's Paris and Sydney outlets seeing crowds, compared to sparse turnouts in London and Hong Kong. Meanwhile, Raymond James downgraded Apple Inc. to "market perform" from "outperform," and said early reviews of the Apple Watch suggest sales will fall short of the company's "insanely great" benchmark. By contrast, Canaccord Genuity upped its price target on the security to $150 from $145 -- never-before-seen territory -- and reiterated a "buy" recommendation. Elsewhere, traders at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) haven't been buying the hype. AAPL's 10-day put/call volume ratio across these exchanges is 0.56, which ranks in the 85th percentile of its annual range -- indicating puts have been bought to open over calls at an accelerated clip recently. Technically speaking, though, AAPL's been impressive -- up more than 69% year-over-year to trade at $126.56.

  • GE announced it will sell the bulk of its GE Capital real estate portfolio to Blackstone Group LP (NYSE:BX) and Wells Fargo & Co (NYSE:WFC) for roughly $26 billion. The infusion of cash also prompted the conglomerate to declare a $50 billion share repurchase program. The news has General Electric Company shares perched 6% higher ahead of the bell. Longer term, the stock has done little in 2015, advancing less than 1% over the past 52 weeks to rest at $25.73. That hasn't stopped options traders from betting bullishly. During the last two weeks at the ISE, CBOE, and PHLX, GE has accumulated a call/put volume ratio of 7.83, which outranks 98% of comparable readings from the last 12 months.

  • Finally, EXL is 15% higher ahead of the open, following news that BX agreed to buy the firm for roughly $2 billion, or $15.85 per share. Last night, the stock closed at $13.84, up just 3.4% in 2015, but will likely open north of its April 2013 record high of $15.40. In options land, short-term speculators have rarely been as put-skewed toward Excel Trust Inc as they are currently. The equity's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 8.50 indicates put open interest outweighs call open interest among options set to expire in three months or less by a roughly 8-to-1 margin; moreover, the ratio outstrips all but 4% of comparable readings from the last 12 months.

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