Analyst Upgrades: Facebook, Inc., Tractor Supply Company, and Salix Pharmaceuticals, Ltd.

Analysts upwardly revised their ratings on Facebook Inc (FB), Tractor Supply Company (TSCO), and Salix Pharmaceuticals, Ltd. (SLXP)

by Karee Venema

Published on Jan 29, 2015 at 9:46 AM
Updated on Apr 20, 2015 at 5:32 PM

Analysts are weighing in today on social media giant Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB), farm equipment retailer Tractor Supply Company (NASDAQ:TSCO), and drugmaker Salix Pharmaceuticals, Ltd. (NASDAQ:SLXP). Here's a quick roundup of today's bullish brokerage notes on FB, TSCO, and SLXP.

  • Despite an initial negative earnings reaction, FB received a round of price-target hikes, after the company's fourth-quarter earnings report handily topped analysts' estimates -- thanks to a surge in mobile ad revenue. Weighing in on the stock was Cantor, which raised its price target by $10 to $90, and Stifel, which upped its target price to $97 from $94. Both brokerage firms underscored their "buy" ratings. Technically speaking, FB is up 0.4% this morning, and has been a standout on the charts, boasting a more than 42% year-over-year gain to trade at $76.55. Not surprisingly, options traders have been optimistic, as evidenced by Facebook Inc's 50-day International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) call/put volume ratio of 2.60, which ranks in the 83rd annual percentile. Simply stated, calls have been bought to open over puts at a quicker-than-usual clip in recent months.

  • No fewer than five brokerage firms raised their price targets on TSCO, following the firm's fourth-quarter profit beat. Included in the bunch were Nomura and Barclays, which each upped their price targets to $92, while reiterating their respective "buy" and "overweight" ratings. Since hitting an annual low of $55.95 in mid-October, TSCO has been on fire -- rallying nearly 46% to trade at $81.54. In fact, the equity touched a record high of $84.82 out of the gate. Should the shares extend this momentum, short sellers could start hitting the exits. Short interest rose 8.7% in the latest reporting period, to 5.6 million shorted shares. What's more, it would take more than a week to cover these bearish bets, at Tractor Supply Company's average daily pace of trading.

  • SLXP received upwardly revised price targets from Jefferies (to $149) and Cantor (to $151), after the company said it will restate its financial statements for the past seven quarters. The stock has had a strong start to the year, up 16%, and this morning has added 3.7% to trade at $132.98. However, six out of 14 analysts covering the shares maintain a tepid "hold" recommendation, and the average 12-month price target of $130.69 stands at a discount to the equity's current perch. If Salix Pharmaceuticals, Ltd. continues to outperform, a fresh wave of upgrades and/or price-target hikes could help fuel its fire.

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