Schaeffer's Trading Floor Blog

Analyst Upgrades: Google, ConAgra Foods, and Ulta Salon

Analysts upwardly revised their ratings on GOOG, CAG, and ULTA

by 11/30/2012 9:02 AM
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Analysts are weighing in today on Internet search engine Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG - 691.89), frozen food giant ConAgra Foods, Inc. (NYSE:CAG - 29.60), and beauty products maven Ulta Salon, Cosmetics & Fragrance, Inc. (NASDAQ:ULTA - 93.15). Here's a quick roundup of today's bullish brokerage notes.

  • GOOG -- which sits on a year-over-year gain of nearly 13% -- scored a price-target hike to $800 from $780 at Barclays this morning. However, this vote of confidence from the brokerage bunch is nothing new for the stock. GOOG currently sports 21 "strong buys" and four "buy" endorsements, compared to five "holds" and zero "sell" recommendations. Meanwhile, the equity's average 12-month price target sits at $797.76, representing expected upside of about 15.3% to Thursday's closing price of $691.89.

  • CAG was upgraded to "buy" from "hold," and saw its price target lifted to $35 from $29 at Jefferies ahead of the open. The security has climbed more than 17% during the past year, which may have triggered the recent glut of call buying. Data from the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) shows a 50-day call/put volume ratio of 3.51 for CAG, confirming calls bought to open have more than tripled puts during the past few months. This ratio arrives in the 79th annual percentile, reflecting a stronger-than-usual bias toward calls over puts.

  • Up more than 6% in pre-market action, ULTA was raised to "outperform" from "market perform" at Wells Fargo today, after the company reported stronger-than-expected third-quarter earnings. The equity has advanced more than 43% year-to-date, so it's no surprise that calls have an edge over puts in the near-term options pits. The stock's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) checks in at 0.81, with calls outstripping puts among the front three-months' series of options. This ratio ranks in the 15th percentile of its annual range, indicating short-term traders have rarely been more call-heavy toward ULTA during the past year.

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