The Bank That Broke the Earnings Trend; Scripps Stock Skyrockets

United Continental stock is testing trendline support after earnings

Managing Editor
Jul 19, 2017 at 9:55 AM
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U.S. stocks are higher this morning, as a new batch of earnings rolls in. Among specific equities on the move are financial firm Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS), airline issue United Continental Holdings Inc (NYSE:UAL), and entertainment stock Scripps Networks Interactive, Inc. (NASDAQ:SNI). Here's a quick look at what's moving shares of MS, UAL, and SNI.

Morgan Stanley Stock Jumping After Earnings Beat

Morgan Stanley stock is up 3.1% to trade at $46.53, after the banking giant's upbeat earnings report -- breaking a recent string of poorly received financial-sector earnings. Both revenue and earnings per share exceeded expectations, and the bank upped both its dividend and share-buyback plan. MS stock has rallied more than 60% in the past three months, and is now within striking distance of its post-financial crisis high of $47.33, touched in March.

A round of upgrades could help Morgan Stanley shares in their quest for new highs. Half of the analysts following MS maintain "hold" or worse ratings, leaving the door wide open for bullish brokerage notes to lure more buyers to the table.

United Continental Stock Grounded After Earnings

United Continental stock is down 4.5% to trade at $75.34, despite reporting earnings and revenue that topped expectations. Instead, traders are panning United's lackluster forecast for current-quarter passenger unit revenue, according to some analysts. Since the company's PR nightmare in March, where a video went viral of a customer being dragged forcibly off a plane, UAL shares have made headway, peaking at a record high of $78.90 in early June.  Today, UAL stock is testing its 80-day moving average, which contained a pullback earlier this month.

In the options pits, traders seem to be especially put-biased. The equity's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 1.05 is in the 98th percentile of its annual range. This means that short-term option players have rarely been more put-heavy on UAL stock in the past 12 months.

Scripps Stock Soaring Amid Discovery Merger Talks

Scripps Networks stock is up a whopping 19% at $79.45, after The Wall Street Journal said the company is in merger talks with Discovery Communications (subscription required). The companies allegedly flirted before back in 2014, and talks seem to have resumed with renewed vigor. This is some much needed good news for SNI stock, which prior to today had spent the past few months consolidating in the $65-$70 neighborhood. The shares are now in the black year-to-date, at their highest point since March.

Scripps short sellers are likely kicking rocks. Short interest represents more than 18% of the stock's float, and would take two weeks to buy back, at SNI stock's average pace of trading.

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