Buzz Stocks: Xerox Corp, Gilead Sciences, Inc., and BlackBerry Ltd

Today's stocks to watch include Xerox Corp (XRX), Gilead Sciences, Inc. (GILD), and BlackBerry Ltd (BBRY)

by Andrea Kramer

Published on Jan 29, 2016 at 9:49 AM

U.S. stocks are higher this morning, after a surprise move from the Bank of Japan. Among the equities in focus are business supplies specialist Xerox Corp (NYSE:XRX), biotech Gilead Sciences, Inc. (NASDAQ:GILD), and mobile phone maker BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY). 

  • XRX is up 3.6% at $9.56, as traders digest the company's plans to split in two. Furthermore, activist investor Carl Icahn -- who revealed a Xerox Corp stake in November -- will hold three board seats. XRX shares have been stair-stepping lower since peaking in late 2014, touching a two-year low of $8.48 on Jan. 20, and recent option buyers are hoping for more downside. On the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), XRX sports a 10-day put/call volume ratio of 2.48 -- in the 97th percentile of its annual range, pointing to a healthier-than-usual appetite for bearish bets of late. 
  • GILD is 3.7% lower at $84.33 -- and just off an annual low of $82.55 -- after the firm said CEO John Martin will be replaced by John Milligan (current chief operating officer) effective March 10. Martin will assume the role of executive chairman. In addition, GILD is reeling after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved rival drugmaker Merck & Co., Inc.'s (NYSE:MRK) hepatitis C treatment. Gilead Sciences, Inc. -- which will report earnings on Tuesday -- is beloved by analysts, despite underperforming the S&P 500 Index (SPX) during the past three months. In fact, 11 out of 16 brokerage firms maintain "buy" or better endorsements, with not a "sell" to be found. A round of downgrades could exacerbate selling pressure on the biotech.

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