Buzz Stocks: Exxon Mobil Corporation, Inovalon Holdings Inc, and Proteon Therapeutics Inc

Today's stocks to watch in the news include Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM), Inovalon Holdings Inc (NASDAQ:INOV), and Proteon Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ:PRTO)

Dec 13, 2016 at 9:29 AM
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U.S. stock futures are on the rise this morning, ahead of today's Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting. Among specific equities in focus today are Dow stock Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM), tech firm Inovalon Holdings Inc (NASDAQ:INOV), and biotech Proteon Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ:PRTO). Here's a quick look at what's driving XOM, INOV, and PRTO.

  • XOM is in focus this morning, amid news the company's CEO Rex Tillerson has been selected to serve as Donald Trump's secretary of state. In the meantime, the shares are trading higher in pre-market action, after yesterday's oil surge helped the stock jump up to $90.98 -- its best close since late July. Short-term Exxon Mobil Corporation option traders have taken a call-skewed approach, too. Specifically, XOM's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 0.87 ranks below 78% of the past year's readings, meaning call open interest among options expiring within three months outweighs put open interest by a wider margin than what's typically seen. 
  • INOV is on pace to shed 37.7% at the open -- and touch an all-time low -- after the company announced ugly guidance. At $14.85, the stock was already down 12.6% year-to-date, and Morgan Stanley sees further downside, lowering its price target to $9 from $14 -- record-low territory. The brokerage firm noted uncertainty surrounding Obamacare's future could weigh on healthcare technology spending and slower revenue growth. Extended losses would be a welcome sight for Inovalon Holdings Inc short sellers. At the moment, 18% of the stock's float is sold short, translating into roughly 24 days' worth of buying power, at average daily volumes. 
  • PRTO is down over 70% ahead of the open, after the company's treatment for chronic kidney disease, vonapanitase, failed a Phase 3 trial. The pending sell-off would put Proteon Therapeutics Inc at all-time lows, after the shares closed Monday at $9.90, 36.2% below breakeven for the year. Now, the stock is vulnerable to a round of bearish analyst attention.  All seven brokerage firms covering PRTO rate it a "strong buy," and its average 12-month price target stands at $20.43 -- in record-high territory.

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