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The major market indexes are modestly higher this afternoon, as Wall Street digests the latest Federal Open Market Committee policy statement. Meanwhile, among the equities in focus are software maker Oracle Corporation (NYSE:ORCL), commodity concern Chesapeake Energy Corporation (NYSE:CHK), and athletic apparel issue Under Armour Inc (NYSE:UA), which have all attracted the attention of analysts.
- ORCL hit the analyst trifecta this morning, scoring price-target boosts from Pacific Crest (to $45 from $40), Stifel (to $45 from $43), and CLSA (to $43 from $38). In other news, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison is reportedly in cahoots with media mogul David Geffen and Queen of the World Oprah Winfrey to bid for the Los Angeles Clippers. From a longer-term perspective, ORCL has added roughly 6.6% so far in 2014, and touched a 13-year high of $42 on April 1. Nevertheless, there's still plenty of room on the bullish bandwagon. The consensus 12-month price target on the stock sits at $40.95 -- just a hair's breadth from ORCL's current perch at $40.77 -- and 10 out of 26 analysts maintain "hold" or worse opinions. Should Oracle Corporation (NYSE:ORCL) shares continue to outperform, more price-target hikes or a round of upgrades could power the stock even higher.
- CHK is 1% lower at $28.78, despite a price-target hike to $30 from $26 at J.P. Morgan Securities. The shares tagged a two-year high of $29.48 earlier this week, but their 14-day Relative Strength Index (RSI) now sits in overbought territory at 72, suggesting a consolidation may have been in the cards. Ahead of Chesapeake Energy Corporation's (NYSE:CHK) turn in the earnings spotlight on Wednesday, May 7, Wall Street remains wary. Just five out of 24 analysts offer up "strong buy" endorsements, and short interest accounts for 9.3% of CHK's total available float -- representing more than six sessions' worth of pent-up buying demand, at the stock's average daily trading volume. However, some of those shorts may be picking up options hedges; the stock's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 0.34 sits just 1 percentage point from an annual low, pointing to a bigger-than-usual call bias among short-term speculators. Whatever the motive, CHK's front-month options are expensive right now, from a historical standpoint, as the equity's Schaeffer's Volatility Index (SVI) of 41% stands higher than 98% of comparable readings from the past year.
- Finally, UA is up 5.1% at $49.56, thanks to an upgrade to "buy" from "neutral" at Janney. The security touched a near-three-month low of $45.45 on Monday, following a poorly received earnings report, but has since recovered 9%. In the options pits, buyers have been upping the bearish ante. On the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), the stock's 50-day put/call volume ratio of 0.98 stands higher than three-fourths of all other readings during the past year, hinting at a healthier-than-usual appetite for long puts over calls during the past 10 weeks. In the same pessimistic vein, short interest skyrocketed a whopping 84.4% during the most recent reporting period, and just nine out of 25 analysts deem Under Armour Inc (NYSE:UA) worthy of a "strong buy."