Buzz Stocks: Wal-Mart, Omeros, and National Penn

Today's stocks to watch include Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (WMT), Omeros Corporation (OMER), and National Penn Bancshares (NPBC)

Aug 18, 2015 at 10:25 AM
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The Dow is lower this morning, thanks to a mix of data and news, including another yuan-related drop for China's Shanghai Composite and a deadly pipe bomb attack In Bangkok. Among the equities in focus are big-box retailer Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT), pharmaceutical stock Omeros Corporation (NASDAQ:OMER), and financial issue National Penn Bancshares (NASDAQ:NPBC).

  • WMT is nearly 3% lower this morning, trading at $69.83 -- after hitting a two-year low of $69.55 -- following disappointing quarterly earnings and weak guidance. Specifically, the blue-chip retailer's quarterly earnings of $1.08 per share missed consensus estimates calling for $1.12 per share. Call buyers were stocking up ahead of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.'s announcement, so we could eventually see some of this optimism unwind. If this scenario plays out, the shares may continue to get pushed below the lower end of the $71-$74 trading range they have occupied since the beginning of July. Meanwhile, just two analysts rate WMT a "sell," leaving the stock vulnerable to downgrades.

  • OMER is trading more than 60% higher at $23.42, after the company released further positive data from its Phase 2 clinical trial of OMS721, used to treat thrombotic microangiopathies. Omeros Corporation added that it is planning for a Phase 3 program based on the consistent response from patients. This morning's gap higher has OMER positioned back above its historically supportive 10-month moving average, after recently falling below it. Watch for a short-covering rally from shares of the biopharmaceutical company, as nearly 28% of OMER's float is sold short. It would take 29 days to buy back these short positions, at typical volumes.

  • Finally, BB&T Corporation (NYSE:BBT) announced that it is going to purchase NPBC in a $1.8 billion, cash-and-stock transaction. BBT believes the National Penn Bancshares purchase will include another $100 million in pre-tax merger and integration costs, but will help it expand in the U.S. Mid-Atlantic region. One certainty: BBT is acquiring a solid technical performer. NPBC hit an annual low of $9.17 in October, but advanced 27% to peg a then-six-year-high of $11.66 in late June. Today, however, the equity has hurdled that latter mark -- hitting a new multi-year peak of $12.79 -- and was last seen 17% higher at $12.77.

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