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The broad markets are staying close to the flatline today, after hitting fresh all-time peaks last week. However, a number of individual equities are enjoying some upside, including LinkedIn Corp (NYSE:LNKD), American International Group Inc (NYSE:AIG), and VIVUS, Inc. (NASDAQ:VVUS).
LinkedIn Corp (NYSE:LNKD) is trading in the green today, after Wunderlich Securities upped its price target for the stock by $10 to $205. At last check, the equity was up 0.1% at $175.68. Today's positive price action is just more of the same for an equity that's tacked on more than 53% year-to-date. From a contrarian perspective, the stock could be poised to encounter some additional brokerage-related tailwinds in the near term. Of the 26 covering analysts, 15 maintain middling "hold" recommendations toward LNKD, while the consensus 12-month price target of $179.18 represents a slight 2.0% premium to LinkedIn's current perch. In other words, the door is wide open for yet another round of upgrades and/or price-target hikes from this skeptical bunch.
American International Group Inc (NYSE:AIG) rallied its way to a new two-year high of $45.68 today, following a pair of bullish brokerage notes. Earlier today, UBS raised its price target on the stock to $44 from $40, while KBW upped its price target by $6 to $43. The stock was last seen 1.9% higher to trade at $45.36. From a longer-term perspective, AIG has tacked on 28.5% in 2013. This upward momentum has caught the attention of optimistic option players, per data from the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX). During the course of the past 10 sessions, traders have bought to open 114,061 calls, compared to 34,535 puts, resulting in a call/put volume ratio of 3.30. This ratio ranks higher than 71% of similar readings taken in the past year, pointing to a healthier-than-usual appetite for calls over puts in recent weeks.
VIVUS, Inc. (NASDAQ:VVUS) is also benefiting from some upbeat analyst attention today. The stock has tacked on 2%, after Piper Jaffray moved its price target to $20 from $17. This optimistic outlook represents expected upside of 60% to VVUS' current perch at $12.47. On the sentiment front, the outlook for VVUS tends more toward the bearish side of the aisle. In the options pits, the stock's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 0.64 ranks in the 96th percentile of its annual range, meaning short-term speculators have rarely been more put-heavy toward VVUS. Elsewhere, short interest accounts for a brow-raising 36.4% of the stock's available float, and it would take more than 19 sessions to cover these shorted shares at the stock's average daily trading volume.