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Analysts are weighing in today on social networking site Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB), java giant Starbucks Corporation (NASDAQ:SBUX), and telecom concern Alcatel Lucent SA (ADR) (NYSE:ALU). Here's a quick roundup of today's bullish brokerage notes.
- FB -- which has more than doubled in value during the past year to perch at $49.01 -- was in the bullish limelight this morning, following last night's turn in the earnings confessional. Pivotal Research upgraded the stock to "buy" from "hold," and lifted its price target to $57 from $48, while other firms including J.P. Morgan Securities, Citigroup, and Stifel Nicolaus also upped their respective price targets. (However, Deutsche Bank and BMO weighed in negatively on the security.) Meanwhile, Facebook Inc's recent price action has driven some short sellers to the exits. During the last reporting period, the number of shorted shares dropped by 22.7%. Continued short-covering activity could add fuel to the equity's uptrend.
- Up nearly 51% so far this year to trade at $80.83, SBUX received a pair of price-target hikes at Piper Jaffray (to $89 from $85) and Barclays (to $78 from $70) after revealing stronger-than-expected quarterly earnings post-close yesterday. Elsewhere, data from the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) shows a 10-day call/put volume ratio of 3.81 for Starbucks Corporation, confirming calls bought to open have nearly quadrupled puts during the past two weeks. This ratio is just 3 percentage points away from a 12-month peak, meaning traders have been snapping up calls over puts at a near-annual-high clip.
- ALU reported a narrower quarterly loss from the year-ago period, which may have prompted ESN/CM-CIC Securities to raise the stock to "buy" from "hold" this morning. Alcatel Lucent SA (ADR) has surged more than 217% on a year-over-year basis, yet sentiment among the brokerage bunch remains bearishly skewed. Only three analysts have handed out "strong buy" endorsements, compared to four "holds," and two "sell" or worse suggestions. What's more, Thomson Reuters shows an average 12-month price target of $3.17 for the security, which reflects a discount to yesterday's closing price of $3.30. In other words, further upgrades and/or a round of price-target hikes could be on the horizon for ALU.