Schaeffer's Trading Floor Blog

Analyst Upgrades: 3M, Oracle, and Questcor Pharmaceuticals

Analysts upwardly revised their ratings on MMM, ORCL, and QCOR

by 9/14/2012 8:54 AM
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Analysts are weighing in today on diversified products company 3M Co (NYSE:MMM - 92.06), software concern Oracle Corporation (NASDAQ:ORCL - 32.62), and biopharmaceutical company Questcor Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:QCOR - 50.79). Here's a quick roundup of today's bullish brokerage notes.

  • Bank of America-Merrill Lynch resumed coverage of MMM with a "buy" recommendation this morning, which could add to the equity's year-over-year advance of around 14%. Not surprisingly, calls are the options of choice on the stock, which sports a 20-day International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) call/put volume ratio of 1.78. In other words, traders have bought to open 178 calls for every 100 puts during the past month.

  • With quarterly earnings looming on the horizon, ORCL saw its price target lifted to $33 from $30 at BMO in pre-market activity. However, although the stock sits on a year-to-date gain of 27%, near-term puts still outpace calls, as reflected by the equity's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 1.17. This ratio registers in the 90th percentile of its annual range, confirming that short-term speculators have been more put-heavy toward ORCL just 10% of the time during the past year.

  • QCOR -- which has trekked 80% higher during the past year -- received a price-target hike to $74 from $67 at Lazard Capital ahead of the opening bell. Nevertheless, skeptics have been gravitating toward the security lately, as short interest on QCOR rose by more than 3% during the past two reporting periods. In fact, these bearish bets make up a hefty 37% of the stock's float. It would take nearly 18 days to buy back these shorted shares, at the equity's current pace of trading.

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