Stocks quoted in this article:
Stocks are still cowering below breakeven this afternoon, following a pre-market report about a further slowdown in the Chinese economy. Contrary to this rather sluggish action on the Street, the number of stocks marking fresh annual highs outweighs those falling to new lows. At last check, the NYSE tallied 72 securities at 52-week highs, versus 6 new lows. Over on the Nasdaq, things are quite a bit more even, as there are 29 annual acmes, and 27 annual lows. Among the equities making record-breaking runs today are Roundy's Inc (NYSE:RNDY - 7.75), Seagate Technology PLC (NASDAQ:STX - 33.88), Time Warner Inc. (NYSE:TWX - 42.76), and Ubiquiti Networks Inc (NASDAQ:UBNT - 8.75).
- RNDY rolled to a new post-IPO worst of $7.70 today, on the heels of a second-quarter earnings miss and a drop in same-store sales. Plus, the grocery-store chain slashed its full-year outlook. Prior to its quarterly showing, there was a preference for calls, as evidenced by the stock's 10-day call/put volume ratio of 2.72 on the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX). However, short sellers could be accountable for some of the call buying of late, picking up optimistic options to hedge their pessimistic positions. Short interest on the equity ballooned 13.6% during the most recent reporting period, and makes up a 20.2% of the stock's available float.
- STX continues to soar on the charts, and today is just more of the same. Before lunchtime, the stock climbed to an all-time best of $34.24, which improved its already impressive 107% year-to-date gain. On a relative-strength basis, the shares have outpaced the broader S&P 500 Index (SPX) by more than 33 percentage points during the past two months. And there could be even more upside in store for the tech issue. The equity's SOIR of 1.30 is just two percentage points away from an annual high, suggesting that near-term options players have rarely been more put-heavy over the past year. Furthermore, the brokerage crowd is overwhelmingly bearish toward this outperformer, as 12 out of 19 analysts consider the stock a "hold" or worse.
- Cable company TWX reached a five-year peak of $42.85 earlier in the session. Technically speaking, the stock is doing quite well for itself, adding 18% since the beginning of the year, and enjoying a near 43% year-long upswing. Options players are optimistic toward the security. During the past 10 days, speculators on the ISE, CBOE, and PHLX have bought to open 2.95 calls for every put. This ratio arrives in the 58th percentile of its annual range, signaling that the current preference for calls is simply business as usual. TWX could catch an analyst-related lift, should the shares prolong their overall progress. The average 12-month price target sits at $43.90, which is a slight premium to today's multi-year perch.
- Finally, UBNT peeled back roughly 45% today to the $8.60 mark -- its lowest price since its mid-October market debut -- after it issued poor fiscal first-quarter guidance. Although the broadband hardware manufacturer saw a 57% increase in earnings for its fiscal fourth quarter, it warned that problems surrounding counterfeits of its communications equipment are much bigger than first thought. Ahead of earnings and this news, options traders appeared to be exceedingly optimistic, as confirmed by the stock's 10-day call/put volume ratio of 2.36 on the ISE, CBOE, and PHLX. However, there could be a less-than-bullish reason for this call-heavy activity. Short interest accounts for a hefty 42.3% of the equity's available float. Oftentimes, short traders will buy calls as hedges for their bearish bets -- and this could be what's happening here. Today's slide could also prompt bullish brokerages to rethink their current positions. Six out of seven analysts maintain a "strong buy," while the consensus 12-month price target of $27 more than triples UNBT's new all-time nadir.