Buzz Stocks: Kohl's Corporation, Monsanto Company, and Qihoo 360 Technology Co Ltd

Today's stocks to watch include Kohl's Corporation (KSS), Monsanto Company (MON), and Qihoo 360 Technology Co Ltd (QIHU)

May 12, 2016 at 10:52 AM
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U.S. stocks are attempting to stage a recovery, thanks in part to promising oil prices. Among equities in focus today are retailer Kohl's Corporation (NYSE:KSS), agricultural stock Monsanto Company (NYSE:MON), and Chinese Internet company Qihoo 360 Technology Co Ltd (NYSE:QIHU).

  • KSS is down 7.4% at $35.82, the stock's lowest price in seven years, after releasing a disappointing earnings report. CEO Kevin Mansell acknowledged that "first-quarter sales were challenging," but considering the recent earnings misses from sector peers, said there seems to be a "macro issue" at hand -- and "until we get some more excitement in apparel, it's going to remain, in my opinion, a replenishment market." Kohl's Corporation has lost more than half of its value since peaking just shy of $80 in April 2015, and short interest in the stock is up 21.4% over the last two reporting periods. Shorted shares now make up 9.1% of KSS' float, and would take about 7.9 days of trading to cover, at KSS's normal daily volume. On the options front, though, near-term options traders haven't been more call-biased at any point in the past year, with KSS' current Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 0.43 the lowest reading in 12 months.

  • MON is currently trading at $99.82, up 10.5% -- and briefly peaked above $100 for the first time since early January -- amidst renewed rumors of potential takeover bids from German companies BASF and Bayer AG. Monsanto Company has been struggling to hit triple-digit territory since the broad-market meltdown in August. Still, near-term options traders are more call-biased than they have been in the past 12 months, with MON's SOIR sitting at 0.34. Analysts remain split on the stock, with seven "strong buy" ratings pitted against seven "holds" or worse.

  • QIHU is down 3.5% at $67.99, after reportedly hitting an impasse with the Chinese government in negotiations to privatize the company. According to Bloomberg, Chinese regulators told the group buying Qihoo 360 Technology Co Ltd that it would not be able to move all of its acquisition funds offshore at once, although QIHU Chairman Zhou Hongyi -- leader of the buying consortium -- is still in negotiations. News of the privatization deal boosted shares in December, and shareholder approval in late March sent QIHU to flirt with $75. However, concerns about the deal in recent days have sent the shares reeling to year-to-date lows. Options traders may have their doubts, with QIHU's 10-day put/call volume ratio at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) currently sitting at 0.78, higher than 81% of all other readings from the past year, suggesting a larger-than-normal put-bias. 


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