Analyst Upgrades: F5 Networks, Inc., Harley-Davidson Inc, and Procter & Gamble Co

Analysts upwardly revised their ratings on FFIV, HOG, and PG

by Alex Eppstein

Published on Nov 14, 2014 at 9:26 AM
Updated on Apr 20, 2015 at 5:32 PM

Analysts are weighing in today on application delivery specialist F5 Networks, Inc. (NASDAQ:FFIV), motorcycle icon Harley-Davidson Inc (NYSE:HOG), and consumer packaged goods giant Procter & Gamble Co (NYSE:PG). Here's a quick roundup of today's bullish brokerage notes on FFIV, HOG, and PG.

  • FFIV saw its price target raised to $130 from $115 at J.P. Morgan Securities, which also underscored its "neutral" rating. This bullish brokerage note is well-deserved, considering the shares have rallied nearly 39% since the start of 2014 to rest at $126.15. At the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), however, pessimism has prevailed in recent months. The stock's 50-day put/call volume ratio across these exchanges is 0.86, which ranks in the 87th percentile of its annual range -- though a portion of these positions (especially at out-of-the-money strikes) may have been initiated by shareholders seeking a downside hedge. Nevertheless, a capitulation among the "vanilla" option bears could spell tailwinds for FFIV.

  • Goldman Sachs upgraded HOG to "buy" from "neutral," and boosted its price target by $15 to $81, due to several factors, including the company's strengthening retail sales, potential in the electric motorcycle market, and possible buybacks and dividends. Year-to-date, the shares have struggled, and are now sitting 2.3% below breakeven at $67.65 -- though those losses could easily be erased today, should the Street react positively to Goldman Sachs' note. In general, the brokerage bunch is almost evenly split on Harley-Davidson Inc, with seven total "buy" recommendations, versus six "holds."

  • Finally, amid the recent Duracell buzz, PG received a pair of price-target hikes at BMO (to $100 from $95, with an "outperform" rating) and Credit Suisse (to $90 from $85, plus a "neutral" opinion). It's been a solid year on the charts for Procter & Gamble Co, which sports a year-to-date gain of nearly 9%, and has been in a solid uptrend since bouncing off its 20-week moving average in mid-October. Nevertheless, option traders have been bearishly arrayed toward the stock, as its 50-day ISE/CBOE/PHLX put/call volume ratio of 1.37 sits just 3 percentage points from a 12-month acme. Should these skeptics capitulate in the face of PG's strong technicals, the shares could catch tailwinds.

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