Buzz Stocks: Apple Inc., Intuitive Surgical, Inc., and Biogen Inc

Today's stocks to watch in the news include Apple Inc. (AAPL), Intuitive Surgical, Inc. (ISRG), and Biogen Inc (BIIB)

by Alex Eppstein

Published on Jul 22, 2015 at 9:37 AM

U.S. stocks are taking it on the chin, amid the latest round of lackluster earnings. In company news, today's stocks to watch include tech heavyweight Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), medical equipment maker Intuitive Surgical, Inc. (NASDAQ:ISRG), and biopharmaceutical specialist Biogen Inc (NASDAQ:BIIB)

  • AAPL is staring at a nearly 7% deficit at $121.74, following last night's mixed turn in the earnings confessional. While the company posted better-than-expected fiscal third-quarter profits and sales, it also offered up a disappointing revenue forecast. Apple Inc.'s pullback is being exacerbated by an unwinding of optimism across the Street. This morning, in fact, Cowen and Company downgraded its rating to "market perform" from "outperform," while slashing its price target to $130 from $140. FBR and BofA-Merrill Lynch followed suit, reducing their price targets to $175 and $142, respectively. Additional negative notes could be forthcoming, with 22 of 34 analysts rating AAPL a "buy" or better, and its average 12-month price target of $149.28 sitting in record-high territory.

  • ISRG is basking in positive brokerage attention, following an earnings beat and expectations for surgical procedures to grow up to 13% this year. Specifically, Canaccord Genuity upgraded its opinion to "buy," and boosted its price target to $615 from $517 -- with no fewer than eight other brokerages also upping their targets. Out of the gate, Intuitive Surgical, Inc. jumped to an annual high of $564.86, and was last seen 10.3% higher at $556.89 -- putting it back into positive territory in 2015. There's plenty of sideline cash available to fuel more upside for the shares, too. ISRG's short interest ratio of 5.00 indicates it would take one week to repurchase all of its shorted shares, at typical daily trading volumes.

  • Finally, BIIB said its experimental Alzheimer's drug, aducanumab, failed to slow mental decline during a Phase I trial -- proving at least one brokerage firm right. The disappointing news has the shares sitting 4.4% lower at $391.59, and testing support at their 160-day moving average. Option traders weren't expecting this from Biogen Inc. During the last 10 days at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), speculators have bought to open 1.74 calls for every put -- a ratio that ranks in the bullishly skewed 87th percentile of its annual range.

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