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Analysts are weighing in today on java giant Starbucks Corporation (NASDAQ:SBUX), cloud computing concern Salesforce.com, inc. (NYSE:CRM), and grocery chain Whole Foods Market, Inc. (NASDAQ:WFM). Here's a quick roundup of today's bullish brokerage notes.
- SBUX scored a price-target hike to $85 from $75 at Piper Jaffray, a day after Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz urged fellow business leaders to push Congress to end the government shutdown. Most analysts are already in the SBUX bullish camp. The stock boasts 15 "strong buys" and two "buy" endorsements, compared to seven "holds" and not a single "sell" or worse rating. Likewise, the stock's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 0.93 ranks in the 36th percentile of its annual range, implying that near-term option players are more call-biased than usual. On the charts, Starbucks Corporation has added 57.6% in the past year, and now sits at $77.15.
- CRM enjoyed a double dose of upbeat analyst attention early this morning. JMP Securities lifted its price target on the stock by $10 to $62, and FBR hiked its price target to $66 from $54. Both brokerage firms reiterated their "outperform" endorsements, to boot. CRM has advanced 35.8% over the last 12 months, and finished at $52.16 yesterday. Just last month, the stock touched a record high of $54.25 before consolidating atop its 10-day and 20-day moving averages. However, a short-squeeze situation could propel Salesforce.com, inc. even higher. Short interest represents nearly nine sessions' worth of pent-up buying demand, at CRM's average pace of trading.
- Finally, Jefferies launched coverage of WFM with a "buy" rating and a $70 price target, which represents expected upside of 17.6% from the stock's current perch at $59.51. The stock notched a record high of $59.99 at the start of the month, and has outperformed the broader S&P 500 Index (SPX) by 7.6 percentage points over the last 40 sessions. Nevertheless, short interest grew nearly 11% during the most recent reporting period, and would take about four sessions to unwind, at Whole Foods Market, Inc.'s average daily trading volume. As the security continues higher, a rush to cover among the shorts could translate into a contrarian tailwind for WFM.