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Analysts are weighing in today on search engine giant Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG), financial services firm Wells Fargo & Co (NYSE:WFC), and athletic apparel guru Under Armour Inc (NYSE:UA). Here's a quick roundup of today's bullish brokerage notes.
- GOOG -- which is due to report first-quarter earnings after this Thursday's close -- was initiated with a "buy" rating and a price target of $950 at Topeka this morning. The stock has advanced roughly 12% so far this year to trade at $790.05, yet puts remain popular in the short-term options pits. Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) for Google Inc checks in at 1.12, indicating puts have outstripped calls among options expiring in the next three months. This ratio registers in the 90th percentile of its annual range, conveying near-term traders have been more put-heavy toward the security just 10% of the time during the past 52 weeks.
- Up nearly 9% year-to-date to hover at $37.21, WFC received a price-target hike to $43 from $42 at KBW today, following Friday morning's better-than-expected quarterly earnings report. Meanwhile, data from the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) shows a 50-day call/put volume ratio of 2.01 for Wells Fargo & Co, confirming calls bought to open have more than doubled puts during the past 10 weeks. This ratio ranks higher than 76% of similar annual readings, meaning traders have been scooping up calls over puts at an accelerated clip in recent months.
- UA -- which is also on tap to report first-quarter earnings later this week -- was upgraded to "positive" from "neutral," and saw its price target lifted to $68 from $53 at Susquehanna ahead of the opening bell. The equity is up more than 17% in 2013 to sit at the $57 level, yet bearish speculation continues to flourish on Under Armour Inc. Short interest on the stock rose by more than 6% during the most recent reporting period, and now these pessimistic bets represent a lofty 17% of UA's available float. In fact, it would take more than two weeks to cover these shorted shares, at the security's average daily trading volume.