Merck, Ralph Lauren, Macy's News Today

Today's stocks to watch in the news include Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK), Ralph Lauren Corp (RL), and Macy's Inc (M)

Feb 2, 2017 at 10:02 AM
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U.S. stocks are lower, as traders continue to digest yesterday's Fed announcement and dissect the latest earnings reports. Among specific equities in focus today are biotech stock Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK), as well as retailers Ralph Lauren Corp (NYSE:RL) and Macy's Inc (NYSE:M). Here's a quick look at what's driving MRK, RL, and M.

Merck Rises After Earnings

MRK is trading 2.1% higher at $63.42, after the company reported stronger-than-expected Keytruda sales and matched analysts' fourth-quarter earnings estimates. Merck also issued 2017 guidance in line with expectations. MRK shares are up more than 26.5% year-over-year, with a recent pullback contained by their 200-day moving average. Short sellers are exiting their positions, with Merck & Co., Inc.'s short interest down 15% in the last two reporting periods.

Ralph Lauren Dips After Earnings, CEO Departure

RL is down 11.1% at $77.73, after news that CEO Stefan Larsson will be leaving the company amid disagreements with the founder "on how to evolve creative and consumer-facing parts of business." The company also delivered a per-share earnings beat, but reported fiscal third-quarter sales below expectations. Out of the gate, RL touched a six-year low of $77.50, and is now down more than 32% year-over-year. Today's drop should come as a boon to near-term option players, who have been unusually put-tilted, with Ralph Lauren Corp's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 1.54 sitting just 8 percentage points from an annual peak.

Macy's Pops On Buyout Buzz

M is trading 4.1% higher at $30.40 amid buyout rumors, after the New York Post said Macy's Inc CEO Terry Lundgren is open to offers ahead of his retirement later this quarter. After notching a near-term peak on Black Friday, the shares of M have lost nearly one-third of their value, though today's bump could put M above its 20-day moving average for the first time since mid-December. Analysts are still skeptical of the retailer, with 11 of 13 rating the shares just a lukewarm "hold."

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