Analyst Update: ISIS Pharmaceuticals, Seadrill, Visa

Analysts adjusted their ratings on ISIS, SDRL, and V

Alex Eppstein
Dec 8, 2014 at 2:04 PM
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Analysts are weighing in today on drugmaker ISIS Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:ISIS), oil rig operator Seadrill Ltd (NYSE:SDRL), and credit card giant Visa Inc (NYSE:V). Here's a quick look at today's brokerage notes on ISIS, SDRL, and V.

  • ISIS has jumped 9% this afternoon to trade at $57.51, after a number of brokerage firms responded positively to the company's recent drug trial data. Specifically, Piper Jaffray upped its price target to $81, BMO lifted its target to $75, and Stifel Nicolaus boosted its target to $66 -- with the latter two reiterating the equivalent of a "buy" recommendation. Longer term, shares of ISIS Pharmaceuticals, Inc. have gained more than 43% year-to-date. As such, traders at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) have been buying to open calls over puts at an annual-high rate in recent weeks. ISIS' 10-day call/put volume ratio of 32.98 outstrips all other readings from the past 12 months.

  • SDRL is down nearly 5% at $11.72, following a pair of price-target cuts from Cowen and Company (to $12 from $27) and Credit Suisse (to $15 from $20), with both reaffirming the equivalent of a "hold" opinion. In fact, the stock earlier touched another five-year low of $11.55. Not surprisingly, short sellers have been turning up the heat on Seadrill Ltd. Short interest rose 16.4% during the most recent reporting period, and now accounts for 8.4% of SDRL's total available float.

  • V raced to a record high of $265.63 this morning, and was last seen up 0.2% at $263.87. Sparking the rally was a price-target boost to $299 from $251 at Nomura, which also repeated its "buy" rating. Given Visa Inc's technical tenacity, option players have been upping the bullish ante at a breakneck pace over the last two weeks. The stock's 10-day ISE/CBOE/PHLX call/put volume ratio of 3.50 rests at the top of its annual range. The brokerage crowd is similarly bullish, as V has received 20 "buy" or better recommendations, compared to four "holds" and not a single "sell."

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