Stocks quoted in this article:
U.S. markets are mixed in midday trading, with all major indexes hovering in the vicinity of breakeven. Meanwhile, on the equities front, some names capturing Wall Street's attention are Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F), QUALCOMM, Inc. (NASDAQ:QCOM) , and Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE:HPQ).
- Up nearly 35% in 2013 to trade at $17.42, Ford Motor Company earned a vote of confidence today from Morgan Stanley, which upped its price target to $20 from $18, while keeping its "overweight" rating. The equity's solid price action -- which recently inspired some hedging activity -- hasn't impressed everyone on Wall Street. Of the 15 analysts following the stock, eight maintain a rating of "hold" or worse, paving the way for future upgrades, should the stock continue along its upward trajectory.
- QUALCOMM, Inc. is bouncing back today after gapping lower on Wednesday in sympathy with Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL). The shares are now up just 11.4% year-to-date to $68.95, but nevertheless earned a positive nod from BMO, which maintained an "outperform" rating on the semiconductor name while lifting its price target by $2 to $77. Meanwhile, it's not surprising that demand for QCOM puts has been notable of late. At the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), QCOM's 10-day put/call volume ratio of 0.80 is a mere 4 percentage points shy of a new annual high.
- Finally, Hewlett-Packard Company is up nearly 54% year-to-date, trading at $21.90, but was targeted for a downgrade today at UBS. The firm kept its "neutral" rating on the shares, but lowered its price target to $24 from $28. Skepticism has been prevalent on the stock, despite its solid performance on the charts; Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) for HPQ stands at 1.24, with short-term puts outnumbering calls by a margin of almost 5-to-4. What's more, this ratio stands in the 76th annual percentile. Also, no fewer than 17 of the 20 brokerage firms following HPQ have ranked it a "hold" or worse, leaving plenty of room for potential upgrades.