Schaeffer's Trading Floor Blog

Analyst Update: Las Vegas Sands, Alcoa, CBOE Holdings

Analysts adjusted their positions on LVS, AA, and CBOE

by 1/10/2013 11:00 AM
Stocks quoted in this article:

Stocks appear to be extending the positive momentum ignited in yesterday's session, as buyers continue to walk Wall Street. Here's a quick update on some of the latest brokerage notes, including adjustments for casino operator Las Vegas Sands Corp. (NYSE:LVS - 51.60), aluminum producer Alcoa Inc. (NYSE:AA - 9.07), and options exchange concern CBOE Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ:CBOE - 31.60).

  • Like sector peer Wynn Resorts, Limited (NASDAQ:WYNN), LVS was greeted with a pair of upbeat brokerage notes today, as Lazard lifted its price target to $59 from $52, and Nomura raised its target by $5 to $57. But the stock is struggling to capitalize on today's news, having retreated some 1.5% at last look. But LVS still maintains a strong technical presence, outperforming the broader S&P 500 Index (SPX) by more than 18 percentage points over the past three months, and rocketing nearly 12% in 2013. Consequently, the security's Relative Strength Index (RSI) now resides at 75 -- in overbought territory -- suggesting a near-term pullback could be in store for LVS.

  • AA grabbed the spotlight recently, unofficially ushering in corporate earnings season with its fourth-quarter results. On the heels of this report, the stock was cut to "underperform" from "neutral" by Macquarie, dragging its year-over-year deficit to roughly 4%. Prior to earnings, there was a swell of optimism in the options pits, as evidenced by AA's 10-day call/put volume ratio of 2.26 on the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX). Moreover, the Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 0.52 confirms calls nearly double puts among options slated to expire within three months. This ratio ranks 4 percentage points from an annual nadir, suggesting short-term options players have rarely been more call-heavy during the past year. However, this recent trend toward calls may not be as upbeat as it would initially appear. Short interest on the equity edged higher over the past two weeks, and now makes up 6.7% of AA's available float. Therefore, it's possible that a portion of the recent call volume was the result of hedging activity by the shorts.

  • Raymond James downgraded CBOE this morning, lowering its rating to "market perform" from "outperform." But the shares have not really been impacted by the adjustment, hovering near breakeven and maintaining their 26% 52-week return. Much like Raymond James' view, the rest of the brokerage bunch is neutral toward the equity. Currently, there are two "buy" recommendations stacked against 10 lukewarm "holds," and zero "sell" suggestions. Meanwhile, the average 12-month price target sits at $30.25, which is a discount to CBOE's current trading price.

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