Buzz Stocks: Johnson & Johnson, Time Warner Cable Inc., and The Pep Boys - Manny, Moe & Jack

Today's stocks to watch include Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ), Time Warner Cable Inc (NYSE:TWC), and Pep Boys-Manny Moe and Jack (NYSE:PBY)

by Josh Selway

Published on May 20, 2015 at 9:27 AM

Futures are pointing to a strong open, ahead of the release of the Federal Open Market Committee's (FOMC) meeting minutes. Among the equities in focus are blue chip Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ), cable provider Time Warner Cable Inc (NYSE:TWC), and car repair shop Pep Boys-Manny Moe and Jack (NYSE:PBY).

  • JNJ is up in pre-market action, after the company announced a deal in which it will develop and market Achillion Pharmaceuticals, Inc.'s (NASDAQ:ACHN) hepatitis C drugs, while also investing over $200 million into its smaller business partner. At yesterday's closing price of $103.96, Johnson & Johnson was just a touch below breakeven on a year-to-date basis -- though the shares appear to be getting support from their rising 20-month moving average. If JNJ can rally from this news, it could stand to benefit from some bullish analyst attention. Seven of 16 brokerage firms maintain tepid "hold" ratings on the shares.

  • TWC is up 3.4% ahead of the open, with Reuters reporting the company is engaged in M&A talks with Altice, a European telecom company. In other news, Barclays reinstated coverage on TWC with an "equal weight" rating and $166 price target. Time Warner Cable Inc -- no stranger to M&A buzz -- has traded roughly in-line with the broader S&P 500 Index (SPX) during the past two months, and in the meantime, options traders have been placing bullish bets. The stock's 50-day International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) call/put volume ratio of 1.32 ranks higher than 79% of all readings from the past year. The shares settled at $158 yesterday, and are on track to open at a new record high.

  • PBY is moving higher thanks to M&A speculation of its own. The shares have picked up over 12% in electronic trading, after The Wall Street Journal reported several firms have expressed interest in buying the company (subscription required). The equity has been a technical laggard, with the shares churning between $8 and $10 since last September, closing yesterday at $9.25. Short sellers won't be pleased with today's news. The nearly 7% of Pep Boys-Manny Moe and Jack's float that is sold short would take over six sessions to buy back, at normal daily trading levels.

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