Buzz Stocks: Tesla Motors, Inc., Centene Corporation, and General Electric Company

Today's stocks to watch in the news include Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA), Centene Corp (NYSE:CNC), and General Electric Company (NYSE:GE)

by Karee Venema

Published on Jul 2, 2015 at 9:26 AM

Stocks are headed higher this morning, as traders digest the latest jobs report. Among specific equities in focus are electric car concern Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA), healthcare company Centene Corp (NYSE:CNC), and blue chip General Electric Company (NYSE:GE).

  • TSLA is up 4% in electronic trading, after the company said sales of its Model S exceeded expectations for a second straight quarter. It's already been a big week for TSLA, which received some upbeat analyst attention on Tuesday. What's more, based on last night's close at $269.15, the stock is now within striking distance of its Sept. 4 record peak of $291.42. Tesla Motors Inc could get an additional boost, should short sellers continue to capitulate to this upward momentum. Although short interest dropped 2.2% in the latest reporting period, these bearish bets still account for one-quarter of TSLA's available float -- representing 9.4 times the average daily trading volume.

  • Rounding out a busy week of M&A headlines in the healthcare sector, CNC is 3.9% higher this morning -- and on pace to notch a fresh all-time peak -- following reports the firm will purchase insurance issue Health Net, Inc. (NYSE:HNT) in a cash-and-stock deal valued at roughly $6.3 billion. (HNT, meanwhile, is poised to pop 17%, and into record-high territory.) CNC has already had a standout year on the charts, boasting a nearly 56% lead. An extended rise could prompt additional analysts to re-evaluate their ratings. More than half of those covering Centene Corp maintain a lukewarm "hold" recommendation. Plus, the average 12-month price target of $82.20 is just a chip-shot away from Wednesday's settlement at $80.90.

  • GE has been making waves all week. Today, the company is in the spotlight, after the Justice Department filed a lawsuit yesterday in an attempt to block Sweden-based Electrolux from purchasing GE's appliance division. Additionally, General Electric Company (NYSE:GE) earlier held a closed-door meeting with European Union antitrust regulators over its $13.7 billion bid for Alstom's energy unit. Nevertheless, the stock is up modestly in electronic trading, after closing last night at $26.66. Longer term, the shares have tacked on 8.5% since hitting their most recent low of $24.57 in early April, thanks to a lift from their 80-day moving average.

    Option traders, however, have taken the glass-half-empty approach in recent months. Specifically, GE's 50-day International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) put/call volume ratio of 0.46 ranks in the 70th annual percentile. A capitulation from some of the weaker bearish hands could translate into tailwinds for GE.
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