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Analysts are weighing in today on mobile phone giant Nokia Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:NOK - 4.62), credit card name Visa Inc (NYSE:V - 159.05), and computer issue International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE:IBM - 196.08). Here's a quick roundup of today's bullish brokerage notes.
- NOK -- which is on deck to reveal quarterly earnings tomorrow morning -- scored price-target hikes at J.P. Morgan Securities (to 2 euros from 1.20 euros) and Morgan Stanley (to 2.60 euros from 1.50 euros) ahead of the open. The stock has climbed nearly 17% so far this year, yet the sentiment scales among the brokerage bunch are bearishly tipped. Only two analysts have deemed NOK worthy of a "strong buy" endorsement, compared to 10 "holds," and 10 "sell" or worse suggestions. This leaves plenty of room for upgrades down the road, which could help push the shares higher.
- V saw its price target raised this morning to $180 from $170 at Barclays, which also reiterated its "overweight" rating. Given the stock's year-over-year gain of more than 57%, it's no surprise that calls have an edge over puts in the options pits. Data pulled from the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) shows a 20-day call/put volume ratio of 1.02 for V. In other words, calls bought to open have slightly outstripped puts during the last four weeks.
- On the heels of reporting better-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings post-close yesterday, IBM was upgraded to "hold" from "sell," and received a price-target lift to $201 from $188 at Societe Generale today. Meanwhile, BMO upwardly revised its price target to $233 from $220. Meanwhile, near-term puts outnumber calls, as reflected by the stock's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 1.35. This reading is just 7 percentage points shy of an annual acme, meaning short-term traders have rarely been more put-heavy toward the equity during the past year.