Buzz Stocks: Ionis Pharmaceuticals Inc, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd, and J C Penney Company Inc

Today's stocks to watch in the news include Ionis Pharmaceuticals Inc (IONS), Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd (ADR) (TEVA), and J C Penney Company Inc (JCP)

Jan 6, 2017 at 9:23 AM
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U.S. stocks are now set to open higher, paring pre-market losses following this morning's nonfarm payrolls report. Among specific equities in the spotlight today are drug stocks Ionis Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:IONS) and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd (ADR) (NYSE:TEVA), as well as retailer J C Penney Company Inc (NYSE:JCP). Here's a quick look at what's driving IONS, TEVA, and JCP.

  • IONS is 7% higher ahead of the bell, on news Novartis AG (ADR) (NYSE:NVS) has agreed to pay the company as much as $1.6 billion for the rights to two cardiovascular treatments. Shares of Ionis Pharmaceuticals Inc, which closed at $47.09 on Thursday, are on track to bounce from support at the 40-day moving average and could break out above the round $50 mark that's acted as resistance this year. The stock could stand to benefit from some upbeat attention from analysts, however. Of 12 brokerage firms tracking IONS, eight call the equity a "hold" or worse.

  • TEVA has shed 4.2% in electronic trading after the company gave a 2017 revenue and profit forecast below analysts' expectations. CEO Erez Vigodman noted that "2016 was a transition year for Teva," and cited "significant headwinds" facing the healthcare sector as a whole. At $37.95, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd (ADR) has already shed over 41% year-over-year, and bears have begun to pile on. Specifically, short interest on the stock rose by about 29% during the most recent two-week reporting period. Still, these pessimistic positions account for just over 2% of TEVA's available float, leaving plenty of room for more short sellers to jump on board, putting further pressure on the shares.
  • JCP is set to slide again today, down 3.9% ahead of the open, after the company reported weak sales, with disappointing results in women's apparel in particular. The stock dropped more than 7% on Thursday -- closing at $7.86 and giving up a key level of support -- thanks to sector headwinds due to similar reports among other major retailers. J C Penney Company Inc remains in positive year-over-year territory, but looks likely to drop below the oversold threshold, with its 14-day Relative Strength Index (RSI) sitting at 32, as of last night's finish. Some short sellers may wish they had hung around longer, too. While these bearish bets still account for almost 21% of JCP's total float, short interest levels have been falling off since last July. 

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