Stocks quoted in this article:
Analysts are weighing in today on business support service Xerox Corporation (NYSE:XRX - 7.39), Internet search engine Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG - 744.70), and pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ - 69.55). Here's a quick roundup of today's bullish brokerage notes.
- As XRX prepares to reveal quarterly earnings on Oct. 23, BMO raised its price target to $8.50 from $8 ahead of the opening bell. The stock has surrendered about 7% year-to-date, but that hasn't stopped call players from converging on XRX. The equity's 50-day International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) call/put volume ratio stands at 15.69, confirming traders have bought to open nearly 16 calls for every put during the past few months. This ratio is just three percentage points shy of an annual high, meaning traders have purchased calls over puts at a faster pace just 3% of the time during the past year.
- On the eve of reporting third-quarter earnings, GOOG saw its price target lifted to $835 from $730 at Raymond James, and to $690 from $640 at Wedbush this morning. With a year-over-year advance of about 26% -- along with the fact that the equity has bested the broader S&P 500 Index (SPX) by about 13 percentage points during the past three months -- it stands to reason that most of the analysts covering the security harbor high expectations. The stock currently sports 27 "strong buys" and three "buy" endorsements, compared to three "holds" and not a single "sell" suggestion.
- JNJ -- which has climbed about 8% during the past year -- scored a price target hike to $77 from $74 at Piper Jaffray today, after the company posted better-than-expected quarterly earnings results on Tuesday. Even so, the near-term options crowd remains bearishly biased toward the stock. Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) checks in at 1.37, indicating puts outstrip calls among options expiring in the next three months. This ratio ranks higher than all other readings taken within the past year, signaling short-term traders are more put-heavy now than at any other time during the last 12 months.