Analyst Upgrades: Alibaba, Delta Air Lines, and Nike

Analysts upwardly revised their ratings on BABA, DAL, and NKE

Dec 10, 2014 at 9:28 AM
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Analysts are weighing in today on Chinese e-commerce concern Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (NYSE:BABA), airline issue Delta Air Lines, Inc. (NYSE:DAL), and blue chip Nike Inc (NYSE:NKE). Here's a quick roundup of today's bullish brokerage notes on BABA, DAL, and NKE.

  • BABA is shrugging off a price-target hike to $130 from $125 at Evercore ISI -- which also reiterated a "buy" recommendation -- after the company's film production unit warned of accounting irregularities. Alibaba Pictures said it will restate 2012, 2013, and 2014 first-half results as soon as possible, and cautioned of a nearly $50 million reduction in profits for the latter period. Alibaba Group Holding Ltd shares are now perched at $107.48 -- just north of a 50% retracement from its all-time high of $120 from its debut price of $92.70. Sentiment among analysts remains extremely optimistic, as BABA boasts 22 "buy" or better endorsements, with not a "hold" or "sell" in sight. Plus, the average 12-month price target of $120.30 sits in record-high territory for BABA, albeit barely. However, short interest spiked by nearly 68% during the past month, suggesting not everyone on the Street is bullish.

  • After a rough day for airlines yesterday, DAL could resume its quest for all-time highs today. The security is pointed 1.7% higher ahead of the bell, thanks to a price-target boost to $58 from $51 at Barclays (which also underscored an "overweight" assessment) and a continued retreat in oil prices. The shares of Delta Air Lines, Inc. have rallied nearly 69% in 2014, and tagged a record peak of $47.67 on Monday. Nevertheless, option players have picked up DAL puts over calls at a faster-than-usual clip in recent weeks, either to bet bearishly or to protect profits. On the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), the equity's 50-day put/call volume ratio of 0.59 ranks in the 80th percentile of its annual range.

  • Finally, NKE scored a pair of upbeat analyst notes. Credit Suisse lifted its price target to $105 from $100, and reiterated an "outperform" rating, while Citigroup hiked its target to $110 from $107, and echoed a "buy" suggestion. Both price targets stand in uncharted territory for Nike Inc shares, which closed at $97.03 on Tuesday -- just a stone's throw from the stock's current record high of $99.76, tagged in late November. Despite the security's ascent, nine out of 20 analysts maintain tepid "hold" opinions, and the average 12-month price target sits at $98.17 -- meaning more upwardly revised price targets and/or upgrades could be down the pike. Meanwhile, NKE yesterday filed a lawsuit in Oregon, claiming three of its former senior shoe designers stole secrets for rival Adidas.

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