Stocks quoted in this article:
The broad-market indexes are modestly higher this afternoon, as Wall Street awaits the next onslaught of corporate earnings reports. Meanwhile, among the equities in focus are software concern Oracle Corporation (NYSE:ORCL), financial firm JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM), and cloud computing issue Salesforce.com, inc. (NYSE:CRM), which have all attracted the attention of analysts.
- ORCL is flirting with a 0.6% lead at $40.30, after Credit Suisse lifted its price target on the equity to $45 from $40, and reiterated its "outperform" recommendation. The stock -- which has added 5.3% in 2014 -- is no stranger to optimism on Wall Street, boasting 16 "buy" or better endorsements, compared to nine lukewarm "holds" and just one "sell" rating. Likewise, Oracle Corporation's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) sits at a 52-week low of 0.58, implying that short-term options players haven't been more call-heavy during the past year.
- JPM has shed 0.2% to trade at $55.12, after Nomura cut its price target on the stock to $62 from $65. Since their April 11 post-earnings bear gap, the shares of JPM have dawdled in the $54.50-$55.50 range, with upside breakout attempts curbed by their 200-day moving average. Nevertheless, the brokerage bunch remains optimistic, with 17 out of 22 analysts offering up "buy" or better opinions. Meanwhile, the average 12-month price target on the equity rests at $65.13, representing expected upside of 18.2% to JPMorgan Chase & Co.'s current price.
- Finally, CRM is down 0.8% at $55.68, as traders digest last night's price-target cut to $74 from $77 at Pivotal. Negative analyst attention is relatively rare for CRM, which has underperformed the broader S&P 500 Index (SPX) by more than 13 percentage points during the past two months. In fact, the security harbors 23 "strong buys" and three "buy" ratings, compared to three "holds" and just one "strong sell." On the flip side, option buyers are migrating to the bearish camp. On the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), the equity's 10-day put/call volume ratio of 0.94 stands higher than 84% of all comparable readings from the past year. In simpler terms, speculators have picked up Salesforce.com, inc. puts over calls at a much faster-than-usual clip during the past couple of weeks.