Stocks quoted in this article:
After surging into the black out of the gate today, the broad-market indexes have pared or erased the bulk of their gains. Meanwhile, among the equities in focus are smartphone maker BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY), auto concern Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F), and credit card issue Visa Inc (NYSE:V), which have all attracted the attention of analysts.
- BBRY was upgraded to "perform" from "underperform" at Oppenheimer ahead of the bell, and was last seen fractionally higher at $7.38. Positive analyst attention is relatively rare for BBRY, with just one out of 28 analysts offering up a "buy" rating. In the same vein, short interest represents more than seven sessions' worth of pent-up buying demand, at BlackBerry Ltd's (NASDAQ:BBRY) average pace of trading. Another round of upgrades and/or a short-squeeze situation could help power the stock higher.
- F, meanwhile, is fractionally higher at $15.82, after analysts at Craig-Hallum upgraded the stock to "buy" and lifted their price target to $21 -- in territory not charted since August 2001. However, the shares still have a ways to go before filling their post-earnings bear gap, which sent F 3.3% lower on Friday. The security is now down 4% from its early April highs, and an extended downtrend -- or a weaker-than-expected April sales report, slated for release Thursday morning -- could shake loose the remaining option bulls. On the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), the equity's 10-day call/put volume ratio stands at an annual high of 11.57. In other words, option buyers have picked up Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) calls over puts at a much faster-than-usual clip during the past couple of weeks.
- Finally, after suffering a post-earnings plunge of 5% on Friday, V is back above the $200 marker, up 0.6% despite a price-target cut to $260 from $300 at SunTrust. In the options pits, speculators have been upping the bearish ante, as the stock's 10-day ISE/CBOE/PHLX put/call volume ratio of 0.68 stands higher than 78% of comparable readings from the past year. Of particular interest has been the May 180 put, which has seen roughly 1,200 contracts opened during the past two weeks. Analysts, on the other hand, have remained devoted to the bulls' side; 22 out of 27 brokerage firms maintain "buy" or better opinions on Visa Inc (NYSE:V), with not a single "sell" rating in sight.