Stocks quoted in this article:
Stocks are higher this morning, looking to dig out from last week's minor setback. Here's a quick update on today's latest brokerage notes, including adjustments for diversified finance firm Citigroup Inc. (NYSE:C - 38.45), passenger airline JetBlue Airways Corporation (NASDAQ:JBLU - 5.71), and global banking giant Bank of America (NYSE:BAC - 10.79).
- Analysts at Raymond James this morning lifted their price target for C to $52 from $44, while keeping the stock's "strong buy" rating intact. This upbeat target lands well above the already optimistic consensus view of $43.33, which is a 12.7% premium to C's current trading price. The rest of the brokerage bunch is bullish toward the stock as well, with 17 out of 24 doling out "buy" or better endorsements. At last check, C has jumped more than 2% on today's news, adding to its impressive 43% rally in 2012.
- Dahlman Rose upped its stance on the airline sector today, raising its outlook to "bullish" from "cautious." The firm also issued adjustments for individual companies, including an upgrade to "hold" from "sell" for JBLU. Investors applauded the note and buoyed the shares higher, lifting their year-to-date return to 10%. If JBLU prolongs this recent ascent, short players could have a hard time ratcheting up their bearish bets. Short interest grew 5.6% over the past month, and now accounts for 17.3% of the security's float. It would take over three weeks for these pessimistic positions to be unwound, which could translate into a contrarian boon for the stock.
- While Raymond James weighed bullishly on C, the brokerage also increased its price target for BAC to $14 from $12, and maintained its "strong buy" endorsement. The stock has been quite standout on the charts, rocketing more than 94% year-to-date, and outpacing the broader S&P 500 index (SPX) by nearly 18 percentage points during the past 60 sessions. Looking closer at the sentiment picture, we see a glut of skepticism levied against this overachiever. BAC currently tallies nine "buy" or better recommendations, compared to 15 "holds," and a pair of "strong sell" suggestions. Plus, the average 12-month price target of $10.26 represents a discount to BAC's 17-month peak of $10.87, which was tagged just moments ago.