Buzz Stocks: Morgan Stanley, UnitedHealth Group Inc, and Forward Pharma A/S

Today's stocks to watch in the news include Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS), UnitedHealth Group Inc (NYSE:UNH), and Forward Pharma A/S (NASDAQ:FWP)

Jan 17, 2017 at 10:04 AM
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U.S. stocks are trading lower this morning, ahead of Friday's inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump. Among specific equities in the spotlight are bank stock Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS), healthcare giant UnitedHealth Group Inc (NYSE:UNH), and biotech Forward Pharma A/S (NASDAQ:FWP). Here's a quick look at what's driving MS, UNH, and FWP.

  • MS is 2.2% lower at $42.85, as a broader stock-market decline overshadows the company's better-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings report. Still, a number of analysts remain hesitant to upgrade the outperforming bank stock, which has added over 65% in the past 12 months. Specifically, eight of 17 brokerage firms still consider it just a "hold." Morgan Stanley touched an eight-year high of $44.60 on Friday, and a round of bullish analyst attention could have the shares topping this mark in the near future. 

  • UNH is also lower despite the company's strong quarterly results, with the shares down 1.4% at $159.56. This still leaves the stock over 46% higher on a year-over-year basis, with UnitedHealth Group Inc hitting an all-time high just last month. Options traders have taken a bullish approach at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX). The stock has a 10-day call/put volume ratio of 1.56 across these exchanges, which tops 89% of the past year's readings. In other words, calls have been bought to open over puts at a faster-than-usual clip.
  • FWP is blowing up this morning, last seen 56.5% higher at $28.72 -- touching an annual high of $30.00 along the way -- after Biogen Inc (NASDAQ:BIIB) agreed to pay the company almost $1.3 billion to license all of its intellectual property. As such, the stock has now doubled since basing near $15 back in mid-December, and the shares could continue to rally if short sellers begin to throw in the towel. Specifically, almost three weeks' of buying power is controlled by these bearish bettors, going by Forward Pharma A/S' average trading volume. 

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