Schaeffer's Trading Floor Blog

Analyst Upgrades: First Solar, Visa, and Expedia

Analysts upwardly revised their ratings on FSLR, V, and EXPE

by 2/6/2013 9:14 AM
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Analysts are weighing in today on alternative energy issue First Solar, Inc. (NASDAQ:FSLR - 29.02), credit card behemoth Visa Inc (NYSE:V - 159.53), and online travel agency Expedia Inc (NASDAQ:EXPE - 67.50). Here's a quick roundup of today's bullish brokerage notes.

  • FSLR -- which has outperformed the broader S&P 500 Index (SPX) by roughly 10 percentage points during the past three months -- was started with a "buy" rating at Citigroup this morning. Meanwhile, although short interest on the stock has declined by about 23% during the last two reporting periods, these pessimistic plays still account for a whopping 31.5% of FSLR's available float. It would take more than four days to cover these shorted shares, at the security's average daily trading volume. Should these skeptics continue to unwind their bearish bets, the shares could end up reaping the benefits of a short-covering rally.

  • Up more than 49% on a year-over-year basis, V received a price-target hike to $190 from $180 at Suntrust ahead of the opening bell. In the options pits, traders seem to share this confidence in the equity. Data pulled 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 1.71 for V, confirming calls bought to open have nearly doubled puts during the past two weeks. This ratio ranks higher than 59% of comparable readings taken within the last year, meaning speculators have been picking up calls over puts at an accelerated clip.

  • EXPE scored a slew of bullish brokerage notes today, thanks to last night's well-received fourth-quarter earnings report. Jefferies boosted its price target to $70 from $56, while analysts at Barclays, Raymond James, Benchmark, Lazard, Deutsche Bank, and Macquarie also lifted their respective price targets. (RBC, however, downgraded the stock to "sector perform" from "outperform.") The equity has soared more than 98% during the last 12 months, yet 10 of the 18 covering analysts still maintain lukewarm "hold" ratings for EXPE. This leaves the door open for future upgrades, which could serve as a tailwind for the shares.

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