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Analysts are weighing in today on software specialist Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT), smartphone maker BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY), and telecom services provider Sprint Corporation (NYSE:S). Here's a quick roundup of today's bullish brokerage notes.
- UBS lifted its price target on MSFT to $46 from $43 this morning, after the shares have bounced 6.4% over the past five days to perch at $40.50. Longer-term, Microsoft Corporation boasts a 12-month return of nearly 44%, yet 13 of the 24 covering analysts maintain "hold" or worse ratings on the stock, and the average 12-month price target of $38.84 denotes a discount to the shares' current price. As such, the door is wide open for more upgrades and/or price-target hikes in the near term, which could provide an extra boost for MSFT.
- BBRY received more bullish brokerage attention late last night, when BMO raised its price target on the stock to $8 from $7. Activity in the equity's options pits is also bullishly skewed ahead of BlackBerry Ltd's fourth-quarter earnings report Friday morning. Over the past 10 trading days, the stock has racked up an International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) call/put volume ratio of 8.27, which ranks higher than all comparable readings from the past year. This means calls have been bought to open over puts at an annual-high pace of late. Some of this call-heavy activity may have come at the hands of short sellers hedging against potential near-term upside, however, as short interest accounts for a lofty 22.3% of the equity's available float. Of note, should BBRY continue on its upward trajectory (the shares are up more than 26% in 2014 to trade at $9.38), a short-squeeze scenario may also be in the cards, which could create additional technical tailwinds.
- S -- which is up 22.8% from its Feb. 5 intraday low of $7.42 to trade at $9.11 -- received a price-target hike to $9.50 from $7.20 at HSBC this morning. The stock may end up benefiting from more upgrades and/or price-target lifts in the near term, as well. Right now, 16 of the 20 covering analysts maintain "hold" or worse suggestions on Sprint Corporation.