Schaeffer's Trading Floor Blog

Analyst Upgrades: Staples, American Express, and Time Warner

Analysts upwardly revised their ratings on SPLS, AXP, and TWX

by 2/20/2013 8:57 AM
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Analysts are weighing in today on office supplies retailer Staples, Inc. (NASDAQ:SPLS - 14.65) , credit card name American Express Company (NYSE:AXP - 62.28), and media and entertainment giant Time Warner Inc. (NYSE:TWX - 53.79). Here's a quick roundup of today's bullish brokerage notes.

  • SPLS received some more upbeat analyst attention this morning, following yesterday's OfficeMax Incorporated (NYSE:OMX) and Office Depot Inc (NYSE:ODP) merger news. Specifically, Citigroup raised the stock to "neutral" from "sell," and upped its price target to $16 from $10, while Jefferies issued an upward price-target adjustment to $15 from $12. The stock has climbed roughly 29% so far this year, yet there is still plenty of skepticism lingering toward SPLS. Short interest presently accounts for a lofty 11% of the equity's available float -- or the equivalent of nearly a week's worth of pent-up buying pressure, at the security's average daily trading volume.

  • Up nearly 18% on a year-over-year basis, AXP scored a price-target hike to $72 from $66 at Susquehanna ahead of the opening bell. Elsewhere, call buyers seem to share this optimism toward the stock. AXP's 10-day International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) call/put volume ratio sits at 1.73, confirming calls bought to open have nearly doubled puts during the past two weeks. This ratio arrives in the 76th percentile of its annual range, meaning speculators have been scooping up calls over puts at an accelerated clip.

  • TWX -- which sports a 52-week gain of more than 43% -- saw its price target lifted to $57 from $50 at Bernstein in pre-market activity. Despite the stock's technical strength, there are still a number of holdouts among the brokerage bunch. TWX currently sports 13 "strong buys" and two "buy" recommendations, versus nine lukewarm "holds." Meanwhile, the security's average 12-month price target of $58 reflects expected upside of about 7.8% to Tuesday's closing price of $53.79. This leaves some wiggle room for future upgrades and/or price target hikes, which could help push the equity higher.

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