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U.S. indices are up slightly this morning, looking to secure a second consecutive day of gains. Here's a quick update on today's latest brokerage notes, including adjustments for online retail giant Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN – 257.69), entertainment and communications business Virgin Media Inc. (NASDAQ:VMED – 35.96), and oilfield services outfit Halliburton Company (NYSE:HAL - 33.85).
- AMZN continues to be a solid overachiever on the charts, ramping up its year-to-date rise to an impressive 48%. In fact, with the help of a price-target hike to $300 from $250 at RBC this morning, the shares are up about 1.5%. Despite this overall uptrend, the options pits are still lined with pessimism, as evidenced by the stock's 10-day put/call volume ratio of 1.24 on the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX). This ratio ranks in the 90th percentile of its annual range, signaling traders on these exchanges have made bearish bets over bullish at a faster pace than usual during the past two weeks. Meanwhile, the Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) for the stock sits at 1.31, signaling that puts outnumber calls among options expiring within three months.
- VMED, on the other hand, is struggling to capitalize on a pair of upbeat analysts notes handed out earlier today. Specifically, Jefferies lifted its price target to $33 from $30, while Wunderlich Securities boosted its target by $5 to $42. At last look, the shares have backpedaled by roughly 0.7% -- but VMED still maintains a strong technical presence, outpacing the S&P 500 Index (SPX) by more than 21 percentage points over the past 60 sessions, and rocketing 68% in 2012. Consequently, the security's Relative Strength Index (RSI) now resides at 73 -- in overbought territory -- suggesting a near-term breather could be in store for VMED.
- Jefferies also weighed in on HAL this morning, reducing its price target by $3 to $42. This newly adjusted target arrives just below the average 12-month price target of $42.42, which is a 25% premium to HAL's current trading price. The security also boasts a bounty of bullish brokerage notes, as 20 out of 26 analysts consider the stock worthy of a "buy" or better endorsement. As HAL continues to churn below familiar resistance in the $34-$36 area, the security could be vulnerable to many more negative analyst notes during the near term.