AMD, QUALCOMM Spearhead Early Tech Stock Gains

VRX is soaring on news it's unloading its Sprout Pharma subsidiary

by Emma Duncan

Published on Nov 6, 2017 at 10:04 AM

U.S. stocks are trading cautiously higher this morning, as investors eye rising oil prices and some fresh M&A buzz. Among the stocks making moves are drug concern Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Ltd (NYSE:VRX), digital communications tech company QUALCOMM, Inc. (NASDAQ:QCOM), and semiconductor specialist Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMD). Here's a closer look at what's moving shares of VRX, QCOM, and AMD.

VRX Soars on Sprout Pharmaceuticals Sale

Valeant Pharmaceuticals stock is trading higher after the company agreed to sell its Sprout Pharmaceuticals unit to former shareholders of Sprout, effectively ending related litigation against VRX. This well-received news comes just after last week's surprise FDA approval for Valeant's glaucoma drug, and the shares are up 2.8% to $11.81 at last check. However, VRX stock is still sporting a year-over-year loss of 38%.

Options traders have preferred calls on VRX stock recently, as data from the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) shows a 10-day call/put volume ratio of 4.43, which ranks in the 94th percentile of its annual range. This indicates that calls were bought to open at a faster-than-usual pace relative to puts during the past two weeks.

QUALCOMM Gets a Boost From Broadcom Bid

Shares of QUALCOMM are soaring after the company received an unsolicited cash-and-stock buyout bid from Broadcom Ltd (AVGO) for $130 billion, or $70 per share. Multiple sources are reporting that QCOM is likely to reject the bid, but the stock is nevertheless up 4.4% at $64.52 at last check. QCOM is now easily on track to collect a third straight daily close above its 200-day moving average -- a feat not accomplished since its late-January bear gap.

Despite the stock's lackluster price action through much of 2017, speculative players continue to favor calls on QCOM. The stock sports a 10-day call/put volume ratio at the ISE, CBOE, and PHLX of 3.13, which ranks in the 83rd percentile of its annual range. Analysts, however, are split on QUALCOMM, with nine "strong buy" and eight "hold" ratings.

AMD Pops on Intel Chip Pact

Advanced Micro Technologies stock is rallying higher today, following reports that it's teaming up with Intel (INTC) to create new, Nvidia-rivaling PC chips. AMD shares are trading up 6.7% at $11.86 -- chipping away at their recent earnings-related losses, and bouncing back into positive territory on a year-to-date basis.

It's possible that today's early gains are partially driven by some of the weaker bearish hands hitting the exits. Short interest currently represents a hefty 17.8% of AMD's float, or 3.2 times the stock's average daily volume.


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