Buzz Stocks: Valeant Pharmaceuticals Intl Inc, Yahoo! Inc., and Ascena Retail Group Inc

Today's stocks to watch in the news include Valeant Pharmaceuticals Intl Inc (VRX), Yahoo! Inc. (YHOO), and Ascena Retail Group Inc (ASNA)

Jan 10, 2017 at 9:22 AM
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U.S. stocks appear set to open lower, as traders turn cautious ahead of President-elect Donald Trump's press conference tomorrow. Among specific equities in the spotlight are drugmaker Valeant Pharmaceuticals Intl Inc (NYSE:VRX), internet stock Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO), and apparel retailer Ascena Retail Group Inc (NASDAQ:ASNA). Here's a quick look at what's driving VRX, YHOO, and ASNA.

  • VRX is up 12.3% ahead of the bell on news the company will sell three of its skincare brands to France's L'Oreal for roughly $2.1 billion, and also sell its Dendreon cancer unit to Sanpower Group Co Ltd of China, for nearly $820 million, in an effort to reduce debt. Valeant Pharmaceuticals Intl Inc also announced positive results in a phase 3 trial of its plaque psoriasis treatment, as well as the launch of expanded parameters in a line of its Bausch + Lomb Ultra contact lenses. All the excitement has VRX set to open at a price point not seen since late November, and above the 40-day moving average, which rejected the shares last week. At last night's close of $15.35, the stock is off a painful 83% year-over-year, so it's not surprising analysts are skeptical, with 12 out of 14 rating VRX a "hold" or "strong sell."

  • YHOO this morning revealed that, upon the sale of its core internet business to Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ), the company will change its name to Altaba, and current CEO Marissa Mayer will step down, as will five other members of the board. The stock is up 0.8% in pre-market trading, after finishing Monday at $41.34. Yahoo! Inc. options traders have been less optimistic than usual toward YHOO of late, per the stock's 10-day put/call volume ratio on the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) of 0.82. While call-heavy on an absolute basis, this reading sits in the bearishly skewed 85th percentile of its annual range.
  • ASNA is poised to plunge 21% at the open after the company gave a disappointing outlook for its fiscal second quarter. Like many of its sector peers, Ascena Retail Group Inc reported weak holiday sales. The stock has been trending lower since mid-2015, closing Monday at $6.01, and if this morning's losses materialize, the shares could find themselves in a region not seen since early 2009. That would be just fine with short sellers. Although these bearish bets fell by nearly 24% during the two most recent reporting periods, 17.5% of ASNA's available float remains dedicated to short interest. 

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