Analyst Update: Hologic, Varian Medical, Pacira Pharma

Analysts adjusted their ratings on Hologic, Inc. (HOLX), Varian Medical Systems, Inc. (VAR), and Pacira Pharmaceuticals Inc (PCRX)

Jan 29, 2015 at 1:51 PM
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Analysts are weighing in today on medical equipment specialists Hologic, Inc., (NASDAQ:HOLX) and Varian Medical Systems, Inc. (NYSE:VAR), as well as drugmaker Pacira Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:PCRX). Here's a quick look at today's brokerage notes on HOLX, VAR, and PCRX.

  • HOLX is up 3.7% to trade at $30.70, and reached a six-year high of $30.74 earlier, following last night's upbeat earnings report. In response, the stock -- up 46.1% year-over-year -- saw its price target raised by no fewer than seven brokerage firms, but slashed by one. Leerink, for example, boosted its price target to $34 from $30 and reiterated its "outperform" rating, while SunTrust Robinson cut its target price by $6 to $18 and underscored a "reduce" rating. Meanwhile, bullish sentiment in Hologic, Inc.'s options pits is peaking, with the stock's 10-day International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) call/put volume ratio of 547.78 resting in the 100th percentile of its annual range. However, in spite of the stock's withstanding technical tenacity, HOLX's current price stands at a discount to its consensus 12-month price target of $28.56, and eight out of 15 covering analysts rate the stock a "hold" or worse, implying that an additional round of price-target hikes and/or upgrades could be on the horizon.

  • VAR is up 10.6% today to perch at $95.66, and notched an all-time high of $95.70 earlier, after the company unveiled a fiscal first-quarter earnings beat last night. As a result, Varian Medical Systems, Inc. received price-target hikes from Brean Capital, Baird, and Jefferies (to $96, $99, and $100, respectively), with all three firms reiterating either "buy" or "outperform" ratings. Surprisingly, puts have been a popular choice in the options pits, with the equity's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 2.99 arriving in the 96th percentile of its annual range. Simply stated, short-term traders are more put-heavy than usual at the moment. Traders are paying a premium for their front-month bets on the stock, per its Schaeffer's Volatility Index (SVI) of 30%, which is higher than 77% of all similar readings taken over the past year.

  • Shares of PCRX are up 7.8% this afternoon to linger near $109.48, after Goldman Sachs raised its price target by $16 to $126, while reiterating its "buy" rating. On the charts, Pacira Pharmaceuticals Inc has advanced a staggering 65.3% year-over-year, and has outperformed the S&P 500 Index (SPX) by over 16 percentage points during the last month. Surprisingly, bearish sentiment in the options pits is reaching fever pitch, with the security's 10-day ISE/CBOE/PHLX put/call volume ratio of 1.55 sitting just 2 percentage points away from an annual pessimistic peak. The analyst community is still upbeat on PCRX, though, with five out of six covering analysts rating the stock a "strong buy," without a single "sell" rating to be found.

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