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Analyst Upgrades: ETrade Financial, LinkedIn, GNC

Analysts upwardly revised their ratings on E*TRADE Financial Corp (ETFC), LinkedIn Corp (LNKD), and GNC Holdings Inc (GNC)

Mar 12, 2015 at 9:29 AM
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Analysts are weighing in today on stock trading platform E*TRADE Financial Corp (NASDAQ:ETFC), professional networking site LinkedIn Corp (NYSE:LNKD), and health products retailer GNC Holdings Inc (NYSE:GNC). Here's a quick roundup of today's bullish brokerage notes on ETFC, LNKD, and GNC.

  • Goldman Sachs upped its price target on ETFC to $32, and underscored a "buy" rating. The bullish note is well-deserved, considering the shares have advanced 14.3% year-to-date to trade at $27.72 -- and are now poised to take out their their multi-year high of $28.18, touched on Tuesday. Surveying the sentiment landscape, there's plenty of optimism around Wall Street. Seven of nine covering analysts have given E*TRADE Financial Corp a "buy" or better recommendation, compared to two "holds" and not a single "sell." Plus, the stock's 10-day call/put volume ratio across the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) stands at a lofty 45.47 -- higher than 88% of comparable readings from the past year.

  • LNKD -- which has advanced more than 30% year-over-year to perch at $264.95 -- saw its price target boosted to $300 from $285 at Canaccord Genuity, which also re-affirmed its "buy" opinion. In recent weeks, since gapping higher on an early February earnings beat, LinkedIn Corp has been consolidating in the $265-$275 range. During this time frame, the stock also hit a record high of $276.18 on Feb. 26, following another bullish brokerage note. Not surprisingly, 19 analysts rate LNKD a "buy" or better, versus eight "holds" and not a single "sell." Plus, the equity's average 12-month price target of $292.33 sits in uncharted waters.

  • Finally, GNC is poised to pop 3.5% out of the gate, following an upgrade to "overweight" from "equal weight" -- and price-target hike to $56 from $52 -- at Morgan Stanley. The shares (which closed Wednesday at $45.18) now have a chance to test their year-to-date breakeven mark of $46.96 -- after falling below it on March 10, when the security dropped 8.5% amid questions surrounding its herbal supplements. On the sentiment front, puts have been popular in GNC Holdings Inc's options pits. The stock's 10-day ISE/CBOE/PHLX put/call volume ratio of 4.06 indicates puts have been bought to open at quadruple the pace of calls. What's more, this ratio ranks in the 96th percentile of its 52-week range, suggesting a stronger-than-usual appetite for bearish bets over bullish.

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