Microsoft, Alphabet, Juniper Networks News Today

Today's stocks to watch in the news include Microsoft Corporation (MSFT), Alphabet Inc (GOOGL), and Juniper Networks, Inc. (JNPR)

Jan 27, 2017 at 9:24 AM
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U.S. stock indexes are modestly higher ahead of the open as traders weigh a mixed round of large-cap earnings. Among specific equities in the spotlight are tech stocks Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT)Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL), and Juniper Networks, Inc. (NYSE:JNPR). Here's a quick look at what's driving MSFT, GOOGL, and JNPR.

Strong Surface Sales Help Microsoft Blow Past Estimates

MSFT is up 1.9% ahead of the bell, and could be set to make a run at fresh record highs, after tapping an all-time peak of $64.54 on Thursday. The Dow component reported earnings and revenue that beat expectations on the Street, with strong sales of its Surface tablet overcoming a 76% drop in phone sales. The results have led no fewer than 11 brokerage firms to raise their price targets on Microsoft Corporation, with Wunderlich setting the high target, at $75 -- a 16.7% premium over last night's close of $64.27. The stock has been climbing the charts for the past seven months, tacking on 33.8% from its late-June low, and options traders have broadly been betting on more gains. At the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), 2.50 MSFT calls were purchased for every put over the past 10 weeks -- a call/put volume ratio higher than 92% of all readings from the last year.

Alphabet Slips as Taxes Hit Bottom Line

GOOGL fell short of earnings expectations as a higher tax rate weighed on the company's bottom line, though Alphabet Inc expressed optimism over growing sources of revenue outside of advertising. The shares are slightly lower in electronic trading, but the analyst community seems surprisingly upbeat, with seven firms offering up price-target hikes, and only Mizuho breaking from the pack, cutting its price target by $1 to $1,024. After notching a record high of $861 on Thursday before closing at $856.98, GOOGL could be due for a breather. The stock is firmly in overbought territory, with a 14-day Relative Strength Index (RSI) of 75. And a recent batch of call sellers probably wouldn't mind if the stock's upward motion stalls today.

Disappointing Outlook Earns Juniper Networks Mixed Analyst Attention

JNPR is set to slide 6.8% at the bell after the company's better-than-predicted fourth-quarter earnings were overshadowed by a disappointing current-quarter outlook. The results earned Juniper Networks, Inc. a mixed bag of brokerage notes. Deutsche Bank, for instance, lowered its target price by $1 to $20 -- a nearly 28% discount to Thursday's close of $27.72. JNPR has been pulling back since stalling out around the $29 level last month, and analysts haven't been particularly impressed. At present, 70% of the firms tracking the stock maintain a lukewarm "hold" opinion. 

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