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A number of companies have seen cheerful notes handed down from analysts today, including search giant Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG), banking behemoth JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM), and semiconductor concern Cree, Inc. (NASDAQ:CREE).
- GOOG saw its price target lifted to $875 from $825 at Raymond James this morning, and this move comes on the heels of yesterday's new $950 price-target outlook from Topeka. The stock -- which has gained roughly 30% in the past 52 weeks to settle around $792.02 -- remains a favorite among put buyers. Its 50-day put/call volume ratio measuring buy-to-open activity at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) stands at 0.86. While this still shows an absolute preference for Google Inc calls, the ratio is higher than 80% of the past year's worth of readings, revealing that the speculative crowd is more put-focused than usual. Google Inc is scheduled to report earnings on Thursday evening, and is expected to show a profit of $10.67 per share.
- With its own earnings in the rearview mirror, JPM notched an upgrade today, as Citigroup raised its price target to $56 from $53. The shares have gained more than 9% so far this year to hit the $48.14 level, and analysts remain enamored. Of the 23 brokers following the stock, 18 have named it a "strong buy," and one has awarded a "buy" rating, leaving three "holds" and just one "sell."
- It's no surprise that CREE earned an upgrade today, as the stock has gained more than 60% in 2013 to its current perch of $54.44, and has outperformed the S&P 500 Index (SPX) by almost 55 percentage points during the last three months. Wedbush lifted its price target on the shares to $59 from $55, distancing itself further from the average 12-month price target among analysts, which resides below the stock's current price, at $48.36. Cree, Inc. remains propped against a backdrop of pessimism, as evidenced by its Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) reading of 1.22. Not only does this show that puts outweigh calls among options with a lifespan of three months or less, but it ranks higher than 95% of the past year's data points. In short, rarely have short-term options traders shown greater partiality toward puts.