Buzz Stocks: Freeport-McMoRan, Qihoo 360, Activision

Today's stocks to watch include Freeport-McMoRan Inc (FCX), Qihoo 360 Technology Co Ltd (QIHU), and Activision Blizzard, Inc. (ATVI)

Aug 28, 2015 at 10:19 AM
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The Dow is off to a rough start this morning, after notching two straight triple-digit winsAmong the equities in focus are mining company Freeport-McMoRan Inc (NYSE:FCX), Chinese Internet concern Qihoo 360 Technology Co Ltd. (NYSE:QIHU), and video game developer Activision Blizzard, Inc. (NASDAQ:ATVI).

  • FCX was in the news yesterday, rallying on plans to cut 2016 spending. The mining company is back in the news -- and in the black -- this morning, after Carl Icahn disclosed a major stake. Icahn holds an 8.5% stake in Freeport-McMoRan Inc, and is one of the company's largest shareholders. At last check, FCX was trading at $10.85, 6.5% higher -- and among the S&P 500 Index (SPX) leaders. Pessimism has been building toward the mining firm, as the stock's 10-day put/call volume ratio on the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) sits at 0.87 -- in the 74th percentile of its annual range. In other words, traders have bought to open FCX puts over calls at a faster-than-usual clip during the past two weeks. It will be interesting to see if any of the newfound bears jump ship thanks to Icahn's investment.

  • QIHU is roughly 7% higher at $54.89, despite a report that an investment company is considering cutting its $9 billion bid for Qihoo 360 Technology Co Ltd in the wake of the recent carnage in China. Unfortunately for QIHU, the original offer (made in June) was non-binding, allowing the investment group the leeway to consider lowering its offer. Technically, the stock has kicked sideways between the $50 and $70 levels since the end of last year. Meanwhile, short-term option players are more put-heavy than usual, as the stock's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 1.15 stands just 3 percentage points from a 12-month peak.

  • ATVI jumped to a new all-time high of $30 -- and was last seen 4.2% higher at $29.09 -- after it was revealed the stock will join the S&P 500 (SPX). After the closing bell sounds this afternoon, Activision Blizzard, Inc. will replace Pall Corporation (NYSE:PLL), which is being acquired. The SPX has a strong performer joining its ranks, as the stock has advanced nearly 45% in 2015. Short-term option players are more call-skewed than normal, as ATVI's SOIR of 0.19 is lower than 90% of the past year's worth of readings. We could see a short-covering rally out of the gaming concern, as more than 14% of its float is sold short. Is today's news the spark that will send the bears running for the hills? Stay tuned.

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