Buzz Stocks: ConAgra Foods, Gilead, The Hershey Company

Today's stocks to watch in the news include ConAgra Foods Inc (NYSE:CAG), Gilead Sciences, Inc. (NASDAQ:GILD), and Hershey Co (NYSE:HSY)

Jun 19, 2015 at 9:23 AM
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U.S. markets are poised to end the week on a high note, despite ongoing uncertainty over Greece's economic fate. In company news, today's stocks to watch include Chef Boyardee maker ConAgra Foods Inc (NYSE:CAG), biopharmaceutical firm Gilead Sciences, Inc. (NASDAQ:GILD), and chocolate champion Hershey Co (NYSE:HSY)

  • Jana Partners has taken a 7.2% stake in CAG, calling the stock "undervalued." The activist hedge fund also intends on nominating three people to ConAgra Foods Inc's board of directors to address the company's "persistent underperformance." The shares, however, certainly haven't underperformed -- rallying more than 33% year-over-year to settle yesterday at $39.12, after hitting a record high of $39.37. On the news, CAG is set to open at another all-time peak, up 4.8% in electronic trading. This could pave the way for a round of positive analyst notes, as 75% of brokerage firms consider the stock a "hold" or worse, and its consensus 12-month price target of $36 is below current levels. This morning, in fact, Bernstein upped its price target on CAG to $44 from $37.

  • GILD's patent application for hepatitis C drug Sovaldi has reportedly been rejected by China. Meanwhile, the drugmaker's stock has soared nearly 29% in 2015 to rest at $121.21, benefiting in recent weeks from its supportive 10-day moving average, and just yesterday notching a new record high of $121.78. This technical tenacity hasn't prevented traders from buying to open puts over calls at a faster-than-usual clip. During the last 10 days at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), Gilead Sciences, Inc. has amassed a put/call volume ratio of 0.74 -- higher than 93% of comparable readings from the past 12 months.

  • It's been a bad year for HSY, down 11.2% at $92.26. Things are about to get worse this morning, as the shares are pointed 2.4% lower ahead of the bell, after the company reduced its full-year sales growth forecast and announced 300 employees will be laid off by year-end. This expected southward move will have the stock dangerously close to annual-low territory. This could be bad news for recent call buyers. During the last 50 sessions at the ISE, CBOE, and PHLX, Hershey Co has racked up a call/put volume ratio of 2.80, which sits just 4 percentage points from a 12-month peak.

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