Schaeffer's Trading Floor Blog

Analyst Upgrades: Sirius XM Radio, Cisco Systems, and Vertex Pharmaceuticals

Analysts upwardly revised their ratings on SIRI, CSCO, and VRTX

by 10/2/2012 8:58 AM
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Analysts are weighing in today on satellite radio giant Sirius XM Radio Inc (NASDAQ:SIRI - 2.57) telecom issue Cisco Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:CSCO - 19.04), and drug maker Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated (NASDAQ:VRTX - 56.44). Here's a quick roundup of today's bullish brokerage notes.

  • Up about 3.3% in pre-market trading, SIRI was started with a "buy" rating at Bank of America-Merrill Lynch this morning. Although the stock currently boasts a year-over-year advance of about 77%, skeptics have been zeroing in on SIRI lately. Short interest on the equity spiked by about 15% during the last two reporting periods, and now accounts for a lofty 16% of the security's float. It would take nearly six days to cover these shorted shares, at the stock's average daily trading volume.

  • CSCO was upgraded to "buy" from "neutral" and saw its price target lifted to $24 from $20 at MKM Partners ahead of the open, which could add to its 52-week gain of more than 25%. The stock has also bested the broader S&P 500 Index (SPX) by more than 10 percentage points during the last 40 sessions, so it's no surprise that the analyst sentiment scales are bullishly tipped. The security sports 19 "buy" or better endorsements, compared to 13 tepid "hold" recommendations.

  • VRTX -- which has climbed about 70% so far this year -- scored a price-target hike to $75 from $57 at Lazard today. In the options pits, calls bought to open have more than doubled puts during the past few months, according to data from the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX). This 50-day call/put volume ratio of 2.28 arrives in the 82nd annual percentile, signaling that traders have been buying calls over puts at a faster-than-usual pace.

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