Stocks quoted in this article:
Analysts are weighing in today on Dow component Caterpillar Inc. (CAT - 97.60), biotech stock Amgen, Inc. (AMGN - 57.46), drug company Amylin Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (AMLN - 10.45), IT services issue Citrix Systems, Inc. (CTXS - 75.06), and cloud computing concern Salesforce.com, Inc. (CRM - 135.04). Here's a quick roundup of today's upgrades and downgrades of note.
- Starting with CAT, the stock is up 1.5% after Goldman Sachs raised its rating to "conviction buy" from "buy." The shares are now re-testing the $98 area, which capped a rally attempt by CAT during late October. Most analysts are already quite enamored of the blue chip, with Zacks reporting 13 "buy" or better recommendations, along with just six "holds" and zero "sells."
- As for AMGN, the shares are fractionally lower following a downgrade to "market perform" from "outperform" at Leerink Swann. The biotech today announced plans to raise as much as $1.5-billion in euro- and sterling-denominated debt to support its stock buyback efforts. From a broader sentiment perspective, options players are quite bearish toward AMGN; the equity's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) stands at 2.01, with puts more than doubling calls among options slated to expire within three months.
- Baird raised its rating on AMLN to "outperform" from "neutral," and simultaneously upped its price target to $15 from $13. In a note to clients, Baird cited AMLN's recent breakup with Eli Lilly (LLY) as an expected positive catalyst. On the heels of this bullish endorsement, AMLN has jumped 4.3%, and is now testing resistance at its descending 80-day moving average.
- CTXS scored a new "positive" recommendation from Susquehanna, prompting a 1.5% gain in the stock in early morning action. The shares are attempting to stage a convincing breakout above the $75 level, which -- despite multiple challenges -- has not been surmounted on a weekly closing basis since July 22.
- Finally, CRM is flirting with a 4% gain after an upgrade to "buy" from "neutral" at Citigroup. The brokerage firm also raised its price target to $158 from $122, implying expected upside of roughly 22% from Friday's close at $128.97. However, CRM could experience some turbulence near the $136 area, which is home to its 10-month moving average. This formerly supportive trendline has served as a technical ceiling since August.