Buzz Stocks: Walt Disney Co, Travelers Companies Inc, and Motorola Solutions Inc

Today's stocks to watch in the news include Walt Disney Co (NYSE:DIS), Travelers Companies Inc (NYSE:TRV), and Motorola Solutions Inc (NYSE:MSI)

by Karee Venema

Published on Aug 5, 2015 at 9:59 AM

U.S. markets are enjoying modest gains at the open, after one voting member of the Fed expressed uncertainty surrounding a September rate hike. Meanwhile, among specific equities in focus are entertainment issue Walt Disney Co (NYSE:DIS), insurance name Travelers Companies Inc (NYSE:TRV), and communications equipment specialist Motorola Solutions Inc (NYSE:MSI).

  • DIS is down 8.6% out of the gate to trade at $111.19, after the company said fiscal third-quarter revenue missed estimates and downwardly revised its profit forecast for a handful of its cable channels. Adding to the risk-off backdrop are negative analyst notes from Jefferies and BMO, which both downgraded the stock to the equivalent of a "hold" rating and lowered their respective price targets to $112 and $110. (J.P. Morgan Securities, meanwhile, raised its target price to $130 from $121.) Heading into today's session, DIS was boasting an impressive 29.2% year-to-date lead -- easily besting the Dow's 1.5% 2015 loss -- and hit a record high of $122.08 yesterday. Option traders, it appears, have been bracing for a post-earnings pullback. At the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), Walt Disney Co's 50-day put/call volume ratio of 0.68 ranks in the 82nd annual percentile.

  • TRV CEO Jay Fishman announced he will step down from a position he has held for nearly 20 years due to health issues. Alan Schnitzer -- head of the firm's business-and-international insurance division -- will assume the role, effective Dec. 1. On the charts, TRV has little to show for in 2015, up a modest 1.1% to trade at $106.99. Longer term, however, the shares have jumped 19% year-over-year, and are currently within striking distance of their March 23 all-time high of $110.49. In the options pits, long puts have emerged as the contracts of choice in recent months. Specifically, Travelers Companies Inc's 50-day ISE/CBOE/PHLX put/call volume ratio of 1.50 sits above all other readings taken in the past year. Simply stated, puts have been bought to open over calls at an annual-high clip.

  • MSI has popped 5.9% out of the gate to trade at $63.79, after Silver Lake Investment said it is sinking $1 billion into the company. The strategic investment will help fund a stock buyback for MSI -- and give Silver Lake two spots on the board, as well as a stake in the firm. Today's positive price action provides a much-needed boost for a stock that was down more than 10% year-to-date heading into today's session -- and has sent the shares comfortably above the round-number $60 mark, an area that MSI has struggled against in recent months. Short-term speculators, meanwhile, are more call-skewed than usual. Motorola Solutions Inc's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 0.27 sits below 97% of all similar readings taken in the past year. In other news, the company reported better-than-expected earnings.

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