Stocks quoted in this article:
The Dow is trending 20 points, or 0.1%, lower today, following poorly received earnings reports from several blue-chip companies. Meanwhile, among the equities in focus are financial services firm Bank of America Corp (NYSE:BAC), networking concern Cisco Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:CSCO), and online travel name Priceline.com Inc (NASDAQ:PCLN).
- Sandler O'Neill increased its price target for BAC to $16 from $13 this morning, which comes as no surprise considering the stock has skyrocketed 111% year-over-year to trade at $14.85. What's more, Bank of America Corp touched a new two-year high of $15.03 during yesterday's session. Overall, though, the brokerage bunch is skeptical toward BAC, which boasts 14 "hold" and two "strong sell" recommendations, compared to seven "strong buy" endorsements. Likewise, the stock's consensus 12-month price target of $14.23 represents a discount to its current level. Should BAC's technical stamina persist, another round of upgrades and/or price-target hikes could be in store, providing further tailwinds for the stock.
- CSCO saw its price target lifted to $28 from $26, and to $30 from $28 at Wunderlich Securities and Pacific Crest, respectively. Technically speaking, CSCO has tacked on roughly 70% year-over-year to trade at $25.74, and has outperformed the broader S&P 500 Index (SPX) by almost 15 percentage points during the past three months. Amid this strength on the charts, Cisco Systems, Inc. sports a Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 0.42, with calls outnumbering puts nearly 5-to-2 among options expiring in three months or less. This ratio rests just 1 percentage point above its annual nadir, meaning short-term traders have almost never been this call-heavy throughout the past year.
- Finally, Stifel raised its price target for PCLN to $1,025 from $860 ahead of today's opening bell, which represents untouched territory for the stock. On the charts, PCLN has gained 45.3% since the start of 2013 to its current price of $901.27, and has outperformed the broader SPX by 20.6 percentage points during the past three months. Still, puts are the options of choice among PCLN traders. Specifically, the stock's International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) 10-day put/call volume ratio of 1.09 ranks in the 91st percentile of its 12-month range. This means traders have bought to open Priceline.com Inc puts over calls at a near annual-high pace within the last two weeks.