Schaeffer's Trading Floor Blog

Analyst Upgrades: Apple Inc. (AAPL), Facebook Inc (FB), and Twitter Inc

Analysts upwardly revised their ratings on AAPL, FB, and TWTR

by 9/10/2014 8:52 AM
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Analysts are weighing in today on iPhone maker Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), as well as social networking titans Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) and Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR). Here's a quick roundup of today's bullish brokerage notes on AAPL, FB, and TWTR.

  • Analysts are offering their two cents on AAPL, following the company's highly anticipated new product lineup yesterday. Baird, Mizuho, and Janney all raised their price targets to $110, while FBN Securities upped its target to $115. All of the aforementioned brokerage firms offered up "buy" or "outperform" ratings on AAPL, though Pacific Crest took the opposite route, downgrading the shares to "sector perform." Despite the unveiling of two new iPhones and a smartwatch, Apple Inc. shares ended Tuesday modestly lower at $97.99. The stock yesterday saw record option volume, with more than 2 million calls exchanged -- three times the norm. It looks like speculators bought to open the weekly 9/12 101-strike calls, amid expectations for AAPL to end the week in triple-digit territory.

  • UBS hiked its price target on FB by $1 to $95, and offered up a "buy" endorsement. The stock has added 40.3% in 2014, and yesterday revisited Monday's new record high of $78.17 before settling at $76.67. Most analysts are already optimistic when it comes to Facebook Inc, as the security boasts 30 "buy" or better ratings, compared to three "holds" and not a single "sell."

  • Finally, TWTR is pointed 2.7% higher ahead of the bell, after UBS lifted its price target by $15 to $65 and upgraded the shares to "buy." The stock has outperformed the broader S&P 500 Index (SPX) by 36 percentage points during the past three months, finishing at $50.61 on Tuesday. The brokerage bunch remains wary, though, as 15 out of 27 analysts maintain "hold" or worse opinions of Twitter Inc.

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Analysts are weighing in today on airline concern United Continental Holdings Inc (NYSE:UAL), international energy giant Marathon Oil Corporation (NYSE:MRO), and oil-and-gas concern BP plc (ADR) (NYSE:BP). Here's a quick look at today's brokerage notes on UAL, MRO, and BP.

  • UAL has tacked on 1.2% today to trade at $51.74, after hitting a record high of $52.45. Credit Suisse initiated coverage of United Continental Holdings Inc with an "outperform" rating, while sector relative DAL was also issued an "outperform" endorsement. UAL's consensus 12-month target sits at $54.16, representing a 3% premium to the stock's current perch. Further reflecting that optimism, 10 of the covering analysts offer up "buy" or better ratings, and only two harbor "sell" ratings.

  • Tudor Pickering upgraded MRO to "buy" from "accumulate," despite a sector-wide slump. Right now, the stock is sitting at $40.06, a 0.4% loss, and is 13% higher year-to-date. Analysts are showing optimism for the equity, with 13 "buy" or better recommendations and only four "holds." Meanwhile, Marathon Oil Corporation's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 0.59 stands higher than just 27% of all other readings the past year, suggesting short-term options players are more call-biased than usual right now.

  • BP is down 0.02% at $45.33, after Oppenheimer cut the oil-and-gas company's price target by $5 to $55, but maintained an "outperform" rating. Furthermore, SocGen removed BP from its "Premium" list. Right now, the stock is at $45.25, down 0.2%. Five brokerage firms have released "buy" or better ratings on BP plc (ADR), while seven have doled out "hold" or worse suggestions.

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Stocks On the Move: FuelCell Energy Inc, The Pep Boys - Manny, Moe & Jack, and Weibo Corp (ADR)

FCEL, PBY, and WB are moving sharply in Tuesday's trading

by 9/9/2014 11:31 AM
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Around midday, three of the top market movers are alternative energy provider FuelCell Energy Inc (NASDAQ:FCEL), auto parts retailer The Pep Boys - Manny, Moe & Jack (NYSE:PBY), and Chinese social media platform Weibo Corp (ADR) (NASDAQ:WB). Here's a quick roundup of how FCEL, PBY, and WB are performing on the charts so far.

  • FCEL is off nearly 10% at $2.41, after last night reporting weaker-than-expected fiscal third-quarter revenue. Nevertheless, the shares remain roughly 71% higher on a year-to-date basis. In the options pits, traders have preferred FuelCell Energy Inc puts over calls in recent weeks, relatively speaking. Specifically, the stock's 10-day International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) put/call volume ratio of 0.17 is higher than more than three-quarters of all similar readings taken in the last year.

  • PBY has slid 10.6% this morning to trade at $10.20, due to a surprise fiscal second-quarter loss and sales miss. With the pullback, the stock is now sitting in the red on an annual basis. Elsewhere, short sellers are no strangers to The Pep Boys - Manny, Moe & Jack. Specifically, 6.4% of the equity's float is sold short, which would take more than three weeks to buy back, at PBY's average daily trading volume.

  • By contrast, WB has tacked on 6.8% to trade at $21.48, after T.H. Capital started coverage of the shares with a "buy" rating and $24 price target. This is more of the same for the security, which has advanced more than 30% since going public in mid-April. Should Weibo Corp (ADR) continue to run up the charts, the stock could benefit from a short-covering rally. After all, nearly 41% of WB's float is sold short.


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Analysts are downwardly revising their ratings today on beauty mogul Avon Products, Inc. (NYSE:AVP), oil-and-gas concern Chevron Corporation (NYSE:CVX), and fertilizer firm Potash Corp./Saskatchewan (USA) (NYSE:POT). Here's a quick look at today's bearish brokerage notes on AVP, CVX, and POT.

  • AVP -- which settled at $13.66 on Monday -- is bracing for a 4% drop out of the gate, on news that Executive VP and Chief Financial Officer Kimberly Ross is leaving for Baker Hughes Incorporated (NYSE:BHI). Citigroup weighed in on the news by downgrading AVP to "neutral" from "buy," and cutting its price target by $3 to $15. (BTIG, on the other hand, upgraded AVP to "buy" from "neutral.") Avon Products, Inc. has given up 20.7% in 2014, so it's no surprise to find most of the Street in the bears' corner. Short interest represents more than eight sessions' worth of pent-up buying demand, at the equity's average pace of trading, and the stock's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 3.53 stands just 7 percentage points from an annual pessimistic peak.

  • CVX finished at $126.21 on Monday, and is poised to extend yesterday's sector-wide slump after BofA-Merrill Lynch downgraded the stock to "underperform," and cut its price target to $29 from $32. Chevron Corporation shares have, in fact, underperformed the broader S&P 500 Index (SPX) over the past three months, yet half of the analysts following the stock consider it a "strong buy." Meanwhile, the equity's SOIR of 0.75 stands higher than just 28% of all other readings from the past year, suggesting short-term options players are more call-biased than usual right now.

  • POT is pointed 1% lower in pre-market action, after Cowen and Company downgraded the shares to "underperform" from "market perform." Pessimism is nothing new for Potash Corp./Saskatchewan (USA), though. Just three brokerage firms offer up "strong buy" opinions, with the remaining 15 doling out "hold" or worse recommendations. Plus, short interest represents seven sessions' worth of pent-up buying demand, at POT's average daily trading volume, and the security's 10-day put/call volume ratio on the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) sits at 0.95 -- above 88% of all other readings from the past year. In simpler terms, option buyers have scooped up POT puts over calls at a faster-than-usual pace during the past couple of weeks. POT closed Monday at $34.36.

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Buzz Stocks: AT&T Inc., The Boeing Company, and Morgan Stanley

Today's stocks to watch in the news include T, BA, and MS

by 9/9/2014 9:26 AM
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U.S. stocks are little changed ahead of the bell, though investors are eagerly awaiting the expected debut of Apple Inc.'s (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone 6. In company news, today's stocks to watch include telecom firm AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T), aerospace issue The Boeing Company (NYSE:BA), and financial giant Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS).

  • T will license its home security system, Digital Life, to Spain-based Telefonica S.A. (ADR) (NYSE:TEF) for a trial period. "We spent a lot of money building the platform," AT&T Mobility CEO Glenn Lurie said. "This is just another way to take those same assets and monetize them, and not just in the U.S., but globally." Meanwhile, on the charts, the stock has been in a steady uptrend for the past month, tacking on 2.5% since its early August low of $34.17 to rest at $35.01. Nevertheless, at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), AT&T Inc. has racked up a 50-day put/call volume ratio of 1.34. This reading resides in the top quartile of its annual range, signaling a preference for bearish bets over bullish in recent months. Should these speculators capitulate in the face of T's technical progress, it could yield tailwinds for the stock.

  • A report from the Pentagon expressed serious concerns over the quality control measures of government contractors BA and Raytheon Company (NYSE:RTN). While leading efforts on the Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle (EKV) program, The Boeing Company allegedly made numerous errors in software testing, meeting supply chain requirements, and implementing design changes. Elsewhere, on the charts, the stock is staring at a more than 6% year-to-date deficit, currently resting near $127.98. Nevertheless, Wall Street remains a fan of the equity, doling out 14 "strong buy" ratings, versus just six "holds" and not a single "sell" recommendation. Plus, BA's consensus 12-month price target of $152.73 stands in record-high territory, 19.3% above the current share price.

  • Finally, MS reached a $95 million settlement, stemming from allegedly deceptive practices the firm used while selling mortgage-backed securities in the years leading up to the 2008 financial crisis. However, the bank did not acknowledge wrongdoing as part of the agreement. Technically speaking, shares of Morgan Stanley have had a solid 2014 -- up 11.2% to perch at $34.86 -- helped by long-term support from their 10-month moving average. Meanwhile, short-term options traders have targeted calls over puts, per the stock's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 0.79, which sits just 7 percentage points from a 12-month low.

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