Schaeffer's Trading Floor Blog

Analyst Upgrades: Cablevision, Halliburton, and H&R Block

Analysts upwardly revised their ratings on CVC, HAL, and HRB

by 10/22/2012 9:06 AM
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Analysts are weighing in today on cable programming provider Cablevision Systems Corporation (NYSE:CVC - 18.39), oil & gas concern Halliburton Company (NYSE:HAL - 34.98), and data storage provider H&R Block, Inc. (NYSE:HRB - 17.11). Here's a quick roundup of today's bullish brokerage notes.

  • Up more than 3% in pre-market action, CVC saw its price target lifted to $23 from $18, and was upgraded to "buy" from "hold," at Canaccord Genuity today, after the company -- along with AMC Networks Inc (NASDAQ:AMCX) -- announced a lawsuit settlement with DISH Network Corp. (NASDAQ:DISH) that will result in CVC and AMCX receiving $700 million in cash. Although CVC has gained more than 29% so far this year, most of the analysts covering the stock maintain a cautious outlook. Only two have deemed it worthy of a "strong buy" endorsement, compared to eight lukewarm "holds" and three "strong sell" suggestions.

  • HAL -- which sits on a year-over-year advance of more than 4% -- received a price-target hike to $38 from $37 at Guggenheim ahead of the opening bell. However, despite the stock's technical prowess, skeptics have been zeroing in on HAL. Short interest on the equity ramped up by about 9% during the past two reporting periods, and now accounts for about 3% of the security's available float. Meanwhile, the stock's Schaeffer's Volatility Index (SVI) of 27% is just seven percentage points above a yearly low, meaning short-term options are relatively cheap right now.

  • HRB was started with a "buy" rating at BTIG this morning, which could add to its climb of about 19% during the past year. Not surprisingly, the equity's 10-day International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) call/put volume ratio checks in at 5.41, confirming traders have bought to open more than five calls for every put during the past two weeks. This ratio is just four percentage points shy of a bullish peak, implying speculators have rarely picked up calls over puts at a faster pace during the past year.

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