Buzz Stocks: Wells Fargo & Co, Herbalife Ltd., and ZIOPHARM Oncology Inc.

Today's stocks to watch in the news include Wells Fargo & Co (NYSE:WFC), Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE:HLF), and ZIOPHARM Oncology Inc. (NASDAQ:ZIOP)

by Celeste Taylor

Published on Jul 15, 2016 at 10:25 AM

U.S. stocks are up once again, on pace for the fifth straight days of gains, after several strong economic reports at home and out of China. Among equities in focus today are banking stock Wells Fargo & Co (NYSE:WFC), nutrition company Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE:HLF), and biotech ZIOPHARM Oncology Inc. (NASDAQ:ZIOP).

  • WFC is down 2.3% at $47.85, as traders pan its latest earnings report. Wells Fargo & Co is 12% lower year-to-date, with recent rebound attempts running into resistance around the $51 level. Call buyers were growing hot on the stock ahead of earnings, with WFC's 10-day call/put volume ratio at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) of 2.43 sitting higher than 98% of all other readings from the past year. Likewise, 14 analysts currently rate WFC a "buy" or better. An exodus of option bulls or a round of downgrades could exacerbate post-earnings losses for the stock.
  • HLF is up 18.8% at $70.50 -- and earlier notched a new two-year high of $72.22 -- after the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) declared the company is not a pyramid scheme. HLF will settle with the FTC to the tune of $200 million, and agreed to restructure its U.S. business operations. The surge is much to the dismay of activist investor Bill Ackman, who has been publicly chastising the nutrition stock for years. Meanwhile, the HLF board is now allowing fellow activist Carl Icahn -- who acknowledged that he and Ackman "are on friendly terms [but] agreed to disagree (vehemently)" on HLF --  to up his stake from 25% to 34.99%. "I believe that now the cloud over Herbalife is gone, the Company will continue to grow," Icahn wrote in a statement. HLF is up 32.4% year-to-date, rising over 66% since hitting an annual low in February. There's likely some option players kicking rocks after this news, with HLF's 10-day ISE/CBOE/PHLX put/call volume ratio of 3.26 sitting in the 90th percentile of its annual range.

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