Buzz Stocks: QUALCOMM, Arrowhead Research, and Sears

Today's stocks to watch in the news include QUALCOMM, Inc. (QCOM), Arrowhead Research Corp (ARWR), and Sears Holdings Corp (SHLD)

Apr 13, 2015 at 9:42 AM
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U.S. stocks have edged higher out of the gate, despite lackluster Chinese trade data. In company news, today's stocks to watch include communications firm QUALCOMM, Inc. (NASDAQ:QCOM), biopharmaceutical issue Arrowhead Research Corp (NASDAQ:ARWR), and retailer Sears Holdings Corp (NASDAQ:SHLD).

  • According to The Wall Street Journal, activist investor Jana Partners is trying to convince QCOM to spin off its chip-making business from its patent-licensing wing. Additionally, Jana Partners -- which is one of QUALCOMM, Inc.'s largest shareholders -- is also requesting that the company reduce costs, lower executive salaries, and increase stock buybacks. At last check, the shares of QCOM have added 2.7% to sit at $71, but are still staring up at resistance from their 160-day moving average. The brokerage bunch is optimistic on QCOM, though, as 62% of covering analysts rate the shares a "buy" or "strong buy." Should the stock resume its recent downtrend, a round of analyst downgrades could spell headwinds for the shares.

  • ARWR announced this morning that the FDA has cleared the company to move forward with a mid-stage trial of ARC-520, its new drug for treatment of chronic hepatitis B. The news has the shares of Arrowhead Research Corp up 4.3% at $8.25. Meanwhile, sentiment in the options pits has reached an optimistic peak, as ARWR's 10-day International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) call/put volume ratio of 30.07 is the highest equivalent reading taken over the past year.

  • SHLD has agreed to create a new real estate venture with Simon Property Group Inc (NYSE:SPG). In response, the shares of Sears Holdings Corp are 1.4% higher at $43.51, bringing their year-to-date lead to 32%. Traders have been picking up puts over calls at a faster-than-usual clip, though, as SHLD's 10-day ISE/CBOE/PHLX put/call volume ratio of 1.93 stands in the 83rd percentile of its annual range. Mirroring this indicator is the stock's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 4.52, which is higher than 92% of all similar annual readings. Said another way, near-term speculators have rarely been this put-heavy on SHLD over the past 12 months.

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