Analyst Upgrades: Texas Instruments, UnitedHealth Group

Analysts upwardly revised their ratings on Texas Instruments Incorporated (TXN), Potash Corp./Saskatchewan (USA) (POT), UnitedHealth Group Inc. (UNH)

Jan 27, 2015 at 9:21 AM
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Analysts are weighing in today on semiconductor manufacturer Texas Instruments Incorporated (NASDAQ:TXN), fertilizer concern Potash Corp./Saskatchewan (USA) (NYSE:POT), and blue chip UnitedHealth Group Inc. (NYSE:UNH). Here's a quick roundup of today's bullish brokerage notes on TXN, POT, and UNH.

  • TXN is off 0.9% in electronic trading, despite seeing its price target raised by no fewer than seven brokerage firms after posting higher fourth-quarter results. The most ambitious of the bunch was RBC, which raised its price target to $66 from $65, and kept its "outperform" rating. Elsewhere, Texas Instruments Incorporated has been stellar on the charts, adding 32.8% from its October low of $41.47 to close yesterday at $55.05. Still, analysts have been slow to give TXN the credit it deserves, as 65% of brokerage firms maintain "hold" or worse ratings. Plus, the stock has already surpassed its consensus 12-month price target of $53.18. Should the security's strong technical run continue, additional price-target increases and/or upgrades could add even more fuel to its fire.

  • POT had its price-target lifted by three brokerage firms. Specifically, TD Securities and HSBC both raised their target prices to $41 -- from $40 and $35.25, respectively -- while deeming the stock a "buy." Also, Susquehanna raised its target price by $3 to $35, while keeping its "neutral" rating. The positive attention is nothing new for a stock that has added over 12% in the past year to finish yesterday at $35.89. Option traders have kept their bearish stance, though, picking up puts ahead of Thursday morning's earnings report. Potash Corp./Saskatchewan's (POT) 10-day International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) put/call volume ratio of 0.62 ranks in the 68th annual percentile, suggesting speculators have bought to open puts over calls at an accelerated clip in the past two weeks.

  • Finally, even with a price-target hike from Oppenheimer to $128 -- territory never before explored -- from $115, UNH is down 0.5% in pre-market trading, pressured by its fellow blue chips. Regardless, the stock has been a technical standout, outperforming the S&P 500 Index (SPX) by roughly 16 percentage points in the past three months, closing yesterday at $111.61. In fact, the equity tagged a record high of $114.32 on Friday. In UnitedHealth Group Inc.'s options pits, however, short-term speculators have taken a put-skewed approach. The stock's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 1.02 outranks 70% of all readings in the past year.

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