Buzz Stocks: Morgan Stanley, Halliburton Company, and Rite Aid Corporation

Today's stocks to watch in the news include Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS), Halliburton Company (NYSE:HAL), and Rite Aid Corporation (NYSE:RAD)

by Celeste Taylor

Published on Oct 19, 2016 at 9:47 AM

U.S. stocks are moving higher on earnings wins. Among equities in focus today are bank stock Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS), oil-and-gas giant Halliburton Company (NYSE:HAL), and pharmacy chain Rite Aid Corporation (NYSE:RAD). Here's a quick look at what's driving MS, HAL, and RAD today.

  • MS is trading 1.4% higher at $32.78, after beating analysts' earnings expectations -- just the latest big bank to report solid earnings. MS has rallied 55% since touching a two-year low of $21.15 in February, with recent dips contained by its 50-day moving average. In the option pits, near-term traders have been slightly more call-skewed than usual as of late, with Morgan Stanley's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 1.16 sitting in just the 35th percentile of its annual range.

  • HAL is 3.3% higher at $48.60 -- and fresh off an annual high of $48.80 -- after delivering a surprise earnings win, thanks to the company's cost-cutting measures and an expected rise in oil prices. HAL has been having a good 2016 so far, up over 43% since the beginning of the year, and now above a recent roadblock in the $46-$47 area. HAL sports a SOIR of 1.37, which sits at an annual peak, indicating near-term option players are more put-skewed than at any other time during the past 12 months.

  • RAD is trading 3.1% lower at $6.80, as its potential merger with Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc (NASDAQWBA) hangs in the balance, amid reports that Kroger Co (NYSE:KR) may not buy the 650 stores required to satisfy anti-trust regulations. RAD is now down more than 13% so far this year, and 24% off WBA's proposed buyout price of $9 per share. Some option traders may be hoping for a breakdown, though, with RAD's SOIR of 1.21 sitting higher than 84% of all other readings from the past year, indicating near-term traders have been more put-skewed than usual.

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