Stocks quoted in this article:
Today's sentiment toward fiscal-cliff talks appears to be of the hopeful variety, as U.S. stocks have kicked higher in morning trading. Here's a quick update on today's latest brokerage notes, including adjustments for Internet auction and marketplace site eBay Inc (NASDAQ:EBAY - 52.10), energy drink maker Monster Beverage Corp (NASDAQ:MNST - 54.78), and athletic gear designer NIKE, Inc. (NYSE:NKE - 98.59).
- EBAY has enjoyed a 1.8% lift in early action, on the heels of a price-target hike to $62 from $58 at KBW. This newly adjusted target sits well above the already optimistic consensus view of $55.03, which is a slim premium to EBAY's current trading price. And considering the stock's roughly 70% gain in 2012, it's not surprising to find other analysts riding the bullish bandwagon. EBAY boasts no fewer than 14 "strong buys" and five "buy" endorsements, versus eight middling "holds" and zero "sell" suggestions.
- This morning, analysts at Stifel weighed in on MNST, lifting their rating to "buy" from "hold." The rest of the brokerage bunch is split when it comes to the stock, handing out three "strong buys" and three "hold" or worse recommendations. While the shares look to build upon their roughly 17% year-to-date return, there is still plenty of skepticism levied against the shares elsewhere on the Street. MNST's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 1.25 confirms that puts outnumber calls among options slated to expire within three months. This ratio ranks six percentage point from an annual high, suggesting short-term options players have rarely been more put-heavy during the past year.
- Following word that NKE is working on a plan to expand its presence in Oregon, the stock was greeted with an upbeat analyst note today. Specifically, Stifel upped its price target by $6 to $110, while keeping its "buy" recommendation intact. Perhaps due to NKE's sluggish movement on the charts -- gaining only 2% since January -- the options pits are lined with bearish bettors. NKE has racked up a 50-day put/call volume ratio of 1.92 on the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX). This reading ranks at the top of its annual range, signaling traders on these exchanges have never made bearish bets over bullish at a faster pace during the past year. Plus, the short-term options crowd is more put-heavy than usual, as evidenced by the SOIR of 1.61, which registers in the 90th annual percentile.