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New Annual Highs: Skyworks Solutions, Union Pacific, and US Bancorp


All leapt to new annual peaks today.

Brushing aside a number of lackluster economic reports -- including data on jobless claims, existing home sales, and a decline in the leading economic index for June -- the major market indexes are modestly higher this afternoon. With help from the tech sector, the bulls are attempting to solidify a third straight win on Wall Street. At last look, the amount of stocks at new annual highs easily outweighs the number of stocks at new lows.

The NYSE has seen 166 securities at new peaks, while the Nasdaq tallies 70 annual highs. Among the equities tagging new peaks are Skyworks Solutions Inc (SWKS), Union Pacific Corporation (UNP), and US Bancorp (USB).
  • Wall Street applauded Skyworks' fiscal third-quarter results, and sent the shares to a new annual best of $29.75 this morning. The semiconductor issue has turned in quite a performance on the charts, rocketing 78% during 2012, and outpacing the broader S&P 500 Index (SPX) by 12% over the past three months. However, pessimism appears to be alive and well in the options arena, as the equity's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) arrives at 1.06, indicating that puts outnumber double calls among options slated to expire within three months. What's more, this ratio ranks in the 96th percentile of its annual range, suggesting that short-term options players have seldom been more put-heavy during the past year.
  • Following better-than-expected second-quarter earnings, Union Pacific jumped to an all-time high of $123.56. With that, the shares amplified their 22.6% year-to-date return. Despite this strong price action, though, options players look to be bearishly skewed. During the past two weeks, speculators on the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) have bought to open 1.49 puts for every call. This ratio is in the 72nd percentile of its annual range, signaling that traders on these exchanges have made bearish bets over bullish at a faster pace than usual during the past couple of weeks.
  • US Bancorp rallied to the $33.99 mark today -- its loftiest price since September 2008 -- on the heels of Wednesday's second-quarter report, and several analyst adjustments. Technically speaking, USB has done quite well for itself, gaining 24.7% since the beginning of the year. Should the bearish brokerage firms reconsider their positions, the stock could extend its overall uptrend. There are 13 "buy" or better endorsements, compared to 12 middling "holds" and one "sell" suggestion. Plus, the average 12-month price target sits at $34.64, which is a slight premium to today's new high.
Click here to read the new lows list, including an earnings-induced pullback for Safeway Inc. (SWY).

This article by Jim Cunningham was originally published on Schaeffer's Investment Research.

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New Annual Highs: Skyworks Solutions, Union Pacific, and U.S. Bancorp

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