Buzz Stocks: Altera Co, ANN, Eleven Biotherapeutics

Today's stocks to watch include Altera Corporation (NASDAQ:ALTR), Ann Inc (NYSE:ANN), and Eleven Biotherapeutics Inc (NASDAQ:EBIO)

May 18, 2015 at 9:45 AM
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U.S. stocks are lower this morning, ahead of the latest NAHB's housing market index. Among the equities in focus are semiconductor concern Altera Corporation (NASDAQ:ALTR), women's apparel retailer Ann Inc (NYSE:ANN), and biopharmaceutical firm Eleven Biotherapeutics Inc (NASDAQ:EBIO).

  • ALTR is up 5.7% at $46.93, after the New York Post reported that the company is once again in M&A talks with Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC). ALTR shares have outdone the S&P 500 Index (SPX) by over 22 percentage points in the last three months, but options traders have continued to buy puts over calls. At the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), Altera Corporation's 10-day put/call volume ratio of 2.79 is only 5 percentage points from an annual high. Similar sentiment is seen among analysts, where 16 of 21 brokerage firms say ALTR is a "hold" or worse. Moreover, the equity's average 12-month price target of $39.64 sits at a discount to current levels.

  • ANN is up 21.3% at $46.95, as the company is being purchased by Ascena Retail Group Inc (NASDAQ:ASNA) in a $2.16 billion cash-and-stock deal. Shares of the takeover target have been struggling somewhat on the charts recently, underperforming the SPX by almost 9 percentage points during the past two months. This deal is likely pleasing Ann Inc's option traders. The security's 50-day ISE/CBOE/PHLX call/put volume ratio of 2.99 is only nine percentage points from an annual bullish peak.

  • Things aren't looking too good for EBIO, however, as the equity is 73% lower at $3.28, after the firm announced its dry eye disease drug failed to achieve primary endpoints in a Phase III study. This should at least make short sellers happy, considering 12% of Eleven Biotherapeutics Inc's float is sold short, representing six sessions' of trading, at normal daily volumes. Coming into today, EBIO was just 0.8% above its year-to-date breakeven mark.

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