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Upgrades & Downgrades: ARO, ZUMZ, ATHN, MU, and PCLN

Analysts adjusted their ratings on ARO, ZUMZ, ATHN, MU, and PCLN

by 3/26/2012 10:23 AM
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Analysts are weighing in today on mall-based retailers Aeropostale, Inc. (ARO - 21.30) and Zumiez, Inc. (ZUMZ - 36.47), medical software provider Athenahealth, Inc. (ATHN - 77.20), semiconductor manufacturer Micron Technology (MU - 8.13), and online travel company, Inc. (PCLN - 727.50). Here's a quick roundup of today's upgrades and downgrades of note.

  • Beginning with ARO, Jefferies lifted its price target on the security to $27 from $24, and kept its "buy" rating, while UBS upped its target by $4 to $21, and maintained a "neutral" rating. There could be additional target hikes around the corner for ARO, should the shares prolong their 39% year-to-date gain. Thomson Reuters places the consensus 12-month price target at $19.07, which is a discount to Friday's settlement of $21.15. The stock is currently up 0.7%.
  • Shares of ZUMZ are also headed north today on an upbeat note from Jefferies. Specifically, the firm raised its price target by $8 to $35, while keeping its middling "hold" rating. On the charts, ZUMZ has jumped 28.8% in 2012, and has surged roughly 51% over the past 52 weeks. Should this uptrend continue, the stock could get an extra boost from additional price-target increases. The average 12-month price target rests at $33.21, which represents a discount to today's multi-year peak of $36.76.
  • Meanwhile, ATHN is also benefiting from a price-target adjustment this morning, as Baird held onto its "neutral" rating, but pushed its target up to $70 from $58. There could be more where that came from, as Thomson Reuters pegs the average 12-month price target at $57.94 -- representing a more than 20-point discount to ATHN's session high of $77.82. Elsewhere, short interest rose more than 8.9% over the past month, and now makes up 27.7% of the security's available float. These bearish bets would take more than two weeks to unwind, at ATHN's typical pace of trading, which could translate into a contrarian boon for the stock. The equity is looking at a 2% uptick this morning, amplifying its 54% year-to-date increase.
  • Following last week's earnings report, analysts at Oppenheimer today cut their rating for MU to "perform" from "outperform." At last check, MU is down more than 3%, and is cowering below the $8.50-$9 region -- which has acted as a technical ceiling since June 2011. There could be additional downgrades in store as the stock pulls back from resistance, as Zacks tallies 18 "strong buys," one "buy," three "hold" ratings, and zero "sells."
  • Finally, PCLN has traveled 1.5% higher so far today, after Nomura pumped up its price target by $90 to $670 -- even as the brokerage firm maintained a "reduce" rating for the stock. PCLN could receive additional target hikes going forward. Thomson Reuters places the consensus 12-month price target at $713.09, which represents a discount to the stock's 12-plus year best of $730, tagged earlier this morning. PCLN is now attempting to solidify its perch above the $720 level, after gapping above this round-number region right out of the gate.

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