Buzz Stocks: Apple Inc., Home Depot Inc, and Praxair, Inc.

Today's stocks to watch in the news include Apple Inc. (AAPL), Home Depot Inc (HD), and Praxair, Inc. (PX)

Aug 16, 2016 at 9:27 AM
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Stocks in the U.S. are set to pull back after Monday's record finish. Among equities in focus today are tech titan Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), retail stock Home Depot Inc (NYSE:HD), and industrial gas supplier Praxair, Inc. (NYSE:PX)

  • AAPL is just 0.2% higher ahead of the bell on news that Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE:BRK.A) increased its stake in the company by 55% to 15.2 million shares. However, Soros Fund Management dissolved its stake in the company, while Greenlight Capital reduced its holdings. This follows similar news from yesterday, with hedge funds adding new stakes in other high-profile companies (and exiting others) during the previous quarter. Meanwhile, CEO Tim Cook said the company is increasing its investments in China. Apple Inc. closed Monday at $109.48, sitting on a modest 4% year-to-date lead, but its overhead 320-day moving average capped yesterday's gains and remains a potential obstacle. Any display of doubt from analysts could easily send the stock lower, as roughly 86% of the brokerage firms covering AAPL still rate it a "buy" or better.
  • HD is slightly lower pre-market following its second-quarter earnings report, which met analyst estimates. Surprisingly, Home Depot Inc hasn't gotten a boost from its upwardly revised full-year outlook. That said, the stock closed at $137.06 on Monday, not far off its Aug. 1 record high of $139. Bearish betting has been popular in the options pits, per HD's 50-day put/call volume ratio of 1.13 at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) -- just 5 percentage points from an annual high. An unwinding of this pessimism could create tailwinds for the shares, sending them to fresh highs.
  • PX is 4.4% higher in pre-market trading after closing Monday at $118.03. Reports surfaced overnight that the company is in merger talks with German peer Linde AG. A deal between the two firms would create the largest supplier of industrial gas in the world, if approved by antitrust regulators. Praxair, Inc. has had a strong year so far, adding 15.3% in 2016, and bears appear to be heading to the exits. Specifically, short interest on the stock fell by more than 20% during the two most recent reporting periods. Still, the remaining 1.3% of PX's float sold short would take nearly a week to cover, at the equity's typical daily volumes.

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