Charter Stock Hits New High on Sprint Buzz; Hertz Levels Avis Budget Stock

A price-target hike isn't saving CAR stock from sector headwinds

Managing Editor
Jul 31, 2017 at 3:51 PM
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Most U.S. benchmarks are headed toward a positive close, though tech stocks are lagging. Broadcasting stock Charter Communications, Inc. (NASDAQ:CHTR), biopharmaceutical company Intercept Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:ICPT), and car rental name Avis Budget Group Inc. (NASDAQ:CAR) are just three names in the spotlight. Here's a quick look at what's moving shares of CHTR, ICPT, and CAR.

SoftBank Rumors Drive Charter Stock Higher

Charter Communications stock is up 5.2% to trade at $389.60 -- fresh off a new record high off $399.95, and among the S&P leaders -- after it was reported that Japanese conglomerate SoftBank is preparing to make a substantial bid for Charter in an effort to combine the company with Sprint. Charter has expressed a lack of interest in such a deal, saying over the weekend said it has "no interest" in a merger.

Today's upside is just more of the same for CHTR stock, which has tacked on 65% year-over-year thanks to several sharp bounces off its 120-day moving average. Against this backdrop, analysts are optimistic. Of the 15 brokerages covering CHTR stock, 10 rate it a "buy" or better. 

Patient Death Overshadows Intercept Earnings Beat

ICPT stock is down 12% to trade at $118.27, as reports of a patient death in a mid-stage trial of its cholesterol drug overshadows the biopharmaceutical company's slimmer-than-expected second-quarter loss and price-target hike to $232 from $225 at Cowen and Company.

Today's drop is being contained by Intercept Pharmaceuticals' 200-day moving average -- a trendline that served as a ceiling for the shares for most of the year, until a late-June bull gap. And while the security is short-sale restricted today, it's been a popular target for bearish traders. Short interest represents a whopping 30% of the stock's total available float, or 19 times ICPT's average daily pace of trading volume. 

CAR Stock Hurt By Rival

Barclays weighed in on car rental stocks today, boosting its price target on Avis Budget Group stock to $32 from $31. However, the brokerage firm downgraded rival Hertz -- sending it down 19% and CAR stock 5.2% lower to $30.92.

Though CAR shares have bounced sharply since hitting a four-year low of $20.71 on June 9, they're still down 16% year-to-date. Short-term options traders are especially put-heavy ahead of Avis Budget's Aug. 1 earnings report, per CAR's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 2.01, which ranks in the 70th percentile of its annual range. 

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