Buzz Stocks: Home Depot Inc, LendingClub Corp, and Barrick Gold Corporation

Today's stocks to watch include Home Depot Inc (NYSE:HD), LendingClub Corp (NYSE:LC), and Barrick Gold Corporation (USA) (NYSE:ABX)

May 17, 2016 at 10:55 AM
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U.S. stocks are down, as the latest reading on inflation strengthens the Federal Reserve's case for raising interest rates. Among equities in focus today are Dow stock Home Depot Inc (NYSE:HD), online lending marketplace LendingClub Corp (NYSE:LC), and gold stock Barrick Gold Corporation (USA) (NYSE:ABX).

  • HD is down 1.1% at $133.90, after the company reported better-than-expected first-quarter earnings, and raised its outlook for the year. Home Depot Inc is one of the few retailers to come out ahead this earnings season, helped by a stronger housing market and a "quarter marked by week-to-week demand spikes caused by weather variability," according to HD CEO Craig Menear. Even with today's downturn -- which is being contained by HD's 50-day moving average -- the stock is hovering near its all-time high of $137.82, hit on May 10. Near-term options traders have been especially call-heavy, with HD's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 0.91 sitting lower than 92% of all other readings taken in the past year.

  • LC is down 9.8% at $3.56, after hitting a new all-time low of $3.44 at the open, after the U.S. Department of Justice opened an investigation on the lending company, and issued it a subpoena. Additionally, LC announced many large investors have halted operations with the firm. This is just the latest in a string of troubles for LendingClub Corp, after CEO Renaud Laplanche left the company last week following an internal investigation. Since Laplanche's departure, the shares have lost over half their value, and, while the stock is on the short-sale restricted list today, short interest jumped 22.4% over the last two reporting periods. These shorted shares now account for 23% of the stock's float.

  • ABX is up 2.9% at $19.45, following news that billionaire investor George Soros had purchased 19.4 million shares of the precious metal mining stock, as gold prices rally. This move is unusual for Soros, who has been outspoken about his disdain for gold in the past. ABX, meanwhile, is up an impressive 164% since the beginning of the year -- and is within a chip-shot of taking out its May 2 two-year peak of $19.50. However, options traders still aren't convinced, and Barrick Gold Corporation's 10-day put/call volume ratio at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) is 0.73, higher than 84% of all other readings from the past year. An unwinding of these bearish bets could help propel ABX even higher.

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