Analysts Hype Up PayPal; Semiconductor Stock Pops on Buyback Buzz

Stifel and Jefferies expect some strong numbers when PayPal reports on Thursday

Josh Selway
Oct 16, 2018 at 2:05 PM
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U.S. stocks are soaring today thanks to strong quarterly earnings results. Three names that are joining in on the rally and trading higher following bullish analyst attention are digital payments specialist PayPal Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ:PYPL), semiconductor concern Marvell Technology Group Ltd. (NASDAQ:MRVL), and blue chip The Coca-Cola Co (NYSE:KO). Below is a breakdown of what's moving PYPL, MRVL, and KO shares today.

PYPL Calls Popular Before Earnings

PYPL stock is trading up 3.7% at $80.08, after brokerage firms Stifel and Jefferies both predicted a 25% increase in quarterly payment volume when the company reports earnings this Thursday. At these levels, PayPal is down 15% since its all-time high of $93.70 from Sept. 13, but seems to have bounced from a line connecting higher lows from over the past year.

Heading into earnings, near-term options traders are heavily call-skewed. This is based on the equity's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 0.57, ranking in the 20% annual percentile. The front-month October 90 and 95 calls are home to notable open interest, and the October 97.50 call isn't far behind.

MRVL Trades Higher on Buyback News

MRVL shares have gained 4.5% to trade at $18.94, following news the company increased its total share buyback plan to $1 billion. Plus, BMO upped its rating on the stock to "outperform" from "market perform." This isn't too surprising, since 15 of 17 covering analysts already have "strong buy" ratings on Marvell Technology -- despite the fact the equity is down 15% in the past six months.

Options traders have been targeting the semiconductor name at an accelerated pace. For example, total open interest on MRVL comes in at 305,136 contracts -- good enough for the 98th annual percentile. During the past 10 days in particular, the November 17 put has seen a dramatic rise in open positions.

Morgan Stanley Lifts KO Price Target

KO shares are eyeing a third straight gain, up 0.8% at $45.27, after Morgan Stanley bumped its price target up to $50 from $49. This rise on the charts has Coca-Cola stock right below its year-to-date breakeven level and the 80-day moving average. Analysts have an average 12-month price target of $50.88 on the blue chip, above its all-time high of $48.62 from January.

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