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Analysts are weighing in today on financial firms JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM) and Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS), plus grocery chain Whole Foods Market, Inc. (NASDAQ:WFM). Here's a quick roundup of today's bullish brokerage notes.
- Guggenheim lifted its price target on JPM to $70 from $65, following yesterday's news regarding CEO Daniel Pinto's new appointments to his executive team. So far this year, JPM shares have been relatively stagnant, advancing less than 1% to trade at $59.00, but that hasn't stopped the brokerage crew from showcasing bullish ratings on the stock. To be specific, 17 of the 23 analysts weighing in on JPMorgan Chase & Co. have dished out "buy" or better endorsements. Furthermore, the average 12-month price target of $65.97 represents expected upside of 11.8% from the shares' current price. Of note, JPM is set to report first-quarter earnings ahead of the market's open on Friday.
- MS -- which has shed 8.3% over the past month to trade at $29.52 -- received a price-target lift to $33.50 from $32.70 at SocGen last night. In the stock's short-term options pits, call players are making their presence known. Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) on Morgan Stanley comes in at 0.86, ranking lower than 89% of comparable readings from the past 12 months. In other words, call open interest (relative to put open interest) has rarely been heavier during the last year.
- Though WFM is down about 13% year-to-date to trade at $50.29, UBS raised its price target to $70 from $62, and added the stock to its U.S. "Key Call" list last night. Against the shares' weak technical backdrop, speculators at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) have bought to open puts over calls at a near-annual-high rate during the past two weeks. This is evidenced by the fact that Whole Foods Market, Inc.'s 10-day ISE/CBOE/PHLX put/call volume ratio of 1.53 ranks just 3 percentage points from a 12-month peak.