Schaeffer's Trading Floor Blog

Analyst Upgrades: First Solar, Inc., Applied Materials, Inc., and TripAdvisor Inc

Analysts upwardly revised their ratings on FSLR, AMAT, TRIP

by 3/20/2014 8:51 AM
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Analysts are weighing in today on alternative energy issue First Solar, Inc. (NASDAQ:FSLR), semiconductor concern Applied Materials, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMAT), and travel website TripAdvisor Inc (NASDAQ:TRIP). Here's a quick roundup of today's bullish brokerage notes.

  • FSLR scored a slew of upbeat analyst attention, after the firm yesterday forecast solid revenue for 2014. No fewer than six brokerage firms lifted their price targets on the stock, including Baird (to $87 from $67) and J.P. Morgan Securities (to $75 from $64). There could be more bullish notes on the horizon for FSLR, which advanced 20.6% to settle at a two-plus-year closing high of $69.40 yesterday. Just three out of 14 analysts currently harbor "buy" or better ratings, and the consensus 12-month price target of $47.20 sits at a steep discount to the stock's new price. Plus, nearly 18% of First Solar, Inc.'s float is dedicated to short interest, suggesting a short-squeeze situation could add contrarian fuel to the equity's fire.

  • Nomura initiated coverage of AMAT with a "buy" endorsement this morning. On the charts, the shares have added more than 10% in 2014, and yesterday tagged a new five-plus-year high of $19.76. However, fewer than half the analysts following AMAT consider it worthy of a "buy" or better recommendation, and the average 12-month price target of $18.79 is south of the security's current price. Meanwhile, the equity's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 1.15 stands just 12 percentage points from an annual high, suggesting short-term options players are more put-heavy than usual right now. More upbeat analyst attention or an unwinding of bearish bets in the options pits could translate into contrarian tailwinds for Applied Materials, Inc.

  • Finally, Piper Jaffray hiked its price target on TRIP to $125 from $93. The equity has been on fire in 2014, advancing more than 25% to dock at $103.76. Furthermore, the shares have outperformed the broader S&P 500 Index (SPX) by 27 percentage points during the past two months. Nevertheless, options buyers are picking up TRIP puts over calls at a near-annual-high clip. The stock's 10-day put/call volume ratio on the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) is 3.82 -- in the 97th percentile of its annual range. However, considering TripAdvisor Inc's aforementioned ascent, some of those puts could've been purchased by shareholders looking to lock in profits in the event of a pullback.

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