Buzz Stocks: Lululemon, NIKE, Isis Pharmaceuticals

Today's stocks to watch in the news include Lululemon Athletica inc. (LULU), Nike Inc (NKE), and ISIS Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (ISIS)

Jun 11, 2015 at 9:28 AM
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U.S. stocks look poised to extend yesterday's rally, thanks to hope on the Greek debt front. In company news, today's stocks to watch include athletic apparel makers Lululemon Athletica inc. (NASDAQ:LULU) and Nike Inc (NYSE:NKE), as well as biotech issue ISIS Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:ISIS).

  • LULU is bracing for a 3.5% drop out of the gate, on news that growing contention with the board has culminated in founder Chip Wilson selling his entire 14% stake -- 20.1 million shares (subscription required). LULU is now on pace to erase Tuesday's post-earnings upside. From a longer-term perspective, Lululemon Athletica inc. is up 19.7% year-to-date, but has spent most of the year churning between $60 and $70, landing at $66.77 yesterday. Analysts are split on the stock, with 12 offering up "strong buy" opinions, compared to 14 "hold" or worse recommendations. Near-term option traders, meanwhile, have rarely been more call-heavy during the past year; the stock's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 0.57 sits lower than just 3% of all other readings from the past 12 months.
  • NKE, on the other hand, is headed 1.4% higher -- and could test its all-time high of $105.50 today -- after the blue chip inked an eight-year sponsorship deal with the NBA and WNBA. Starting in the 2017-18 season, Nike Inc will be the first apparel partner with its logo on all on-court uniforms. Heading into today, NKE was enjoying a slow grind higher, up 37.5% year-over-year to settle at $103.34 yesterday. In the options pits, traders have been buying to open puts over calls at a faster-than-usual rate during the past two weeks, as the stock's 10-day put/call volume ratio on the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) sits at 1.05 -- in the 83rd percentile of its annual range.
  • Finally, ISIS is set to jump 9.3% at the open, thanks to encouraging data on the company's ISIS-SMNrx treatment in infants with spinal muscular atrophy. "They are living longer, achieving milestones that are simply unheard of," said ISIS Pharmaceuticals, Inc. CEO Stan Crooke. "We think it could be a substantial commercial success." The shares of ISIS, which finished at $66.60 yesterday, are looking to take out the round-number $70 level for the first time since mid-March, when the equity was flirting with all-time highs. What's more, the stock could enjoy a short squeeze, should the bears hit the bricks. Short interest accounts for 13.1% of ISIS' total available float, representing nearly two weeks' worth of pent-up buying demand, at the equity's average pace of trading.

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