Schaeffer's Trading Floor Blog

Analyst Upgrades: Nokia Corporation, LinkedIn, and Google Inc

Analysts upwardly revised their ratings on NOK, LNKD, and GOOG

by 2/27/2013 8:44 AM
Stocks quoted in this article:

Analysts are weighing in today on mobile phone maker Nokia Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:NOK - 3.57) , professional networking website LinkedIn Corporation (NYSE:LNKD - 157.77), and search engine behemoth Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG - 790.13). Here's a quick roundup of today's bullish brokerage notes.

  • Up nearly 2% in pre-market action, NOK was upgraded to "buy" from "hold" at Argus this morning. However, there is still plenty of skepticism lingering toward the stock. Short interest on NOK surged by close to 17% during the last two reporting periods, and now these bearish bets account for a lofty 10% of the equity's available float. In fact, it would take almost a week to cover these shorted shares, at the security's average daily trading volume. From a contrarian perspective, NOK could end up reaping the benefits of a short-covering rally in the near term, should the stock move higher.

  • LNKD -- which has climbed more than 37% so far this year -- was started with a "buy" endorsement at Wunderlich Securities today, while Evercore Partners raised its price target to $200 from $160. Nevertheless, the majority of covering analysts maintain a wary attitude toward the stock. The security currently has 12 "strong buy" recommendations, compared to 15 lukewarm "hold" suggestions. What's more, LNKD's average 12-month price target of $154.75 represents a discount to Tuesday's closing price of $157.77. This leaves plenty of room for future upgrades and/or price-target hikes, which could provide a tailwind for the equity.

  • GOOG was raised to "buy" from "neutral" at Bank of America-Merrill Lynch today, which could help add to the stock's year-to-date gain of roughly 12%. Still, despite this positive price action, the short-term crowd has been bearishly biased lately. Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) for GOOG checks in at 1.07, confirming puts outpace calls among options scheduled to expire within the next three months. This ratio is just 1 percentage point shy of an annual high, implying near-term options players have rarely been more put-heavy toward the security during the last 12 months.

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