Stocks quoted in this article:
Another round of lackluster economic data is dragging on stocks, with the major market indexes extending Wednesday's slide. Among individual stocks in focus are insurance issue American International Group Inc (NYSE:AIG), financial concern Bank of America Corp (NYSE:BAC), and delivery titan United Parcel Service, Inc. (NYSE:UPS), which have all attracted the attention of analysts.
- BMO launched coverage of AIG with an "outperform" rating, helping the shares buck the broad-market sell-off to trade 0.2% higher at $38.64. The options crowd, however, isn't as optimistic. On the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), the stock's 10-day put/call volume ratio of 0.49 ranks in the 72nd percentile of its annual range, implying that traders are buying AIG puts over calls at a faster-than-usual clip lately. Plus, the Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 0.84 for American International Group stands higher than 75% of all other readings of the past year, suggesting short-term speculators are more put-heavy than usual at the moment.
- UBS wasn't spooked by BAC's earnings, lifting its price target on the equity to $12 from $11.50. While the stock has shed 7.5% this week to trade at $11.25, the shares could find a familiar ally in the $11 region, which has contained BAC's pullbacks in 2013. From a longer-term perspective, Bank of America is up more than 57% since late July, and touched a new annual high of $12.94 just last month.
- Finally, UPS scored an upgrade to "outperform" from "sector perform" at RBC today. The brokerage firm also hiked its price target by $20 to $100, and said it favors UPS over rival FedEx Corporation (NYSE:FDX). With United Parcel Service currently trading around $82.21, down 0.4%, the new triple-digit price target implies expected upside of 21.6%. However, while RBC is bullish, options traders are more put-skewed than normal heading into UPS' quarterly earnings report, slated for release on Thursday, April 25. Currently, the stock sports a SOIR of 1.00 -- just 4 percentage points from a pessimistic peak.