Stocks quoted in this article:
Analysts are weighing in today on for-profit education firm Apollo Group, Inc. (APOL - 40.49), blue-chip tech giant Cisco Systems, Inc. (CSCO - 17.55), regional lender Huntington Bancshares Incorporated (HBAN - 6.68), Internet search issue Baidu, Inc. (BIDU - 136.06), and biopharmaceutical firm Pain Therapeutics, Inc. (PTIE - 9.20). Here's a quick roundup of today's upgrades and downgrades of note.
- On the heels of a gruesome earnings report, APOL has attracted quite a few analyst notes today. S&P Equity downgraded the shares to "sell" from "hold"; Piper Jaffray slashed its price target to $39 from $45; FBR razored its price target to $40 from $42; Citigroup trimmed its price target to $41 from $45; and both UBS and RBC cut their respective price targets to $42. Meanwhile, BMO diverged from the pack by raising the stock to "outperform" from "market perform." Following yesterday's 4.3% drop, APOL has dipped fractionally lower today to test round-number support near $40.
- Dow component CSCO earned a new "buy" rating from Sterne Agee this morning, with the brokerage firm doling out a $29 price target on the shares -- in territory CSCO hasn't charted since December 2007. The stock has added 0.6% in early trading, but CSCO has yet to overtake resistance at its descending 20-day moving average.
- Late Tuesday, S&P Equity upgraded HBAN to "buy" from "hold," and hiked its price target to $8 from $7. The shares have gained 0.6% out of the gate this morning, but resistance in the $6.80-$7 region looms large. This area has served as a stubborn technical ceiling for HBAN since Feb. 22.
- BIDU jumped to a new all-time high of $138.53 this morning, after Goldman Sachs raised its price target to $145 from $130 and reiterated its "buy" recommendation. Shares of the Chinese search titan have already gained nearly 41% year-to-date, but BIDU is churning around the breakeven line at last look.
- Meanwhile, PTIE tagged a fresh 52-week peak of $9.21 today, thanks to a new "buy" rating from B of A-Merrill Lynch. This bullish note has propelled the shares above short-term resistance at the $9 level, which -- despite multiple challenges during the past week -- PTIE hasn't toppled on a daily closing basis since Oct. 31, 2008. The stock is up more than 7% at last check, which could send short sellers rushing to cover. Currently, 6.7% of PTIE's float is dedicated to short interest.