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Analyst Upgrades: Biogen Idec, Yum! Brands, and Costco

Analysts upwardly revised their ratings on BIIB, YUM, and COST

by 12/13/2012 9:02 AM
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Analysts are weighing in today on biotech company Biogen Idec Inc. (NASDAQ:BIIB - 152.35), quick-service restaurant operator Yum! Brands, Inc. (NYSE:YUM - 67.64), and broadline retailer Costco Wholesale Corporation (NASDAQ:COST - 97.72). Here's a quick roundup of today's bullish brokerage notes.

  • Goldman Sachs resumed coverage of BIIB with a "conviction buy" recommendation this morning, which could help add to the equity's year-to-date gain of more than 38%. Meanwhile, the stock's 50-day International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) call/put volume ratio sits at 2.12, confirming calls bought to open have more than doubled puts during the past few months. This ratio ranks in the 78th annual percentile, meaning traders have been picking up calls over puts at an accelerated clip.

  • Up about 1% in pre-market trading, YUM was upgraded to "buy" from "neutral" at Goldman Sachs today. The security has advanced nearly 18% during the past year, yet there are still a number of analyst holdouts in YUM's pessimistic camp. The stock sports 13 "buy" or better endorsements, but there are also seven lukewarm "holds" and one "strong sell" suggestion. This leaves some wiggle room for upgrades down the road, which could push the equity even higher.

  • COST received a price-target hike to $98 from $95 at Bernstein ahead of the open, after reporting better-than-expected quarterly earnings on Wednesday morning. Although the stock has added about 18% on a year-over-year basis, COST continues to be targeted by skeptics. Short interest on the security jumped by more than 11% during the last two reporting periods. However, there is still plenty of room on the equity's bearish bandwagon, as these shorted shares account for just over 1% of COST's available float.

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