2 Big-Cap Stocks at New Highs After Earnings

Options traders snapped up call options on JNJ stock ahead of earnings

Managing Editor
Oct 17, 2017 at 10:40 AM
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U.S. stocks are trading mixed this morning, with the Dow elbowing higher after some positive blue-chip earnings reports. Among the stocks making moves this morning are pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ), banking concern Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS), and GPS navigation company Garmin Ltd. (NASDAQ:GRMN). Here's a closer look at what's moving shares of JNJ, MS, and GRMN.

Johnson & Johnson Hits a New High Post-Earnings

Shares of Johnson & Johnson are moving higher after the company reported better-than-expected third-quarter earnings and hiked its full-year forecast. The Dow component is up 2% at $138.70, and earlier set a new record high of $139.38. Today's post-earnings pop carries JNJ comfortably above the $137 level, which -- despite multiple intraday challenges since June -- has yet to be conquered on a daily closing basis.

Given the strong price action in Johnson & Johnson stock this year, it's no surprise to find that speculators are bullishly aligned. Data from the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) show JNJ's 10-day call/put volume ratio of 4.01 ranking in the 100th annual percentile, pointing to extreme levels of optimism among pre-earnings options traders.

Morgan Stanley Challenges $50 After Earnings Beat

Morgan Stanley stock is soaring after the company reported better-than-expected quarterly earnings this morning, and at last check, was up 1.9% at $49.88. MS rallied to a new nine-year high of $50.33 out of the gate, and now sports a year-over-year gain of more than 54%.

Data from the ISE, CBOE, and PHLX suggests options traders were leaning bearish before MS's earnings report. The stock sports a 50-day put/call volume ratio of 0.95, which ranks in the 87th percentile of its annual range. This indicates that puts were purchased at a higher-than-usual rate relative to calls during the past 10 weeks.

Garmin Partners with Amazon for a New Alexa Device

Garmin is in the headlines this morning after announcing a partnership with Amazon's Alexa personal assistant service. The navigation company is launching Garmin Speak, a product that incorporates Alexa's abilities to stream music and audio books in response to voice commands with Garmin's usual GPS navigation functionality. At last check, GRMN is trading up 0.4% at $55.35, just pennies away from February's 52-week peak at $55.74.

However, plenty of traders are betting against Garmin stock. Short interest accounts for more than 18% of the equity's available float, which yields a massive short-interest ratio of 22.2 days to cover.

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