Analyst Upgrades: Actavis, Alibaba Group, Facebook

Analysts upwardly revised their ratings on Actavis plc (ACT), Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (BABA), and Facebook Inc (FB)

Mar 17, 2015 at 9:23 AM
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Analysts are weighing in today on drugmaker Actavis plc (NYSE:ACT), e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (NYSE:BABA), and social media king Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB). Here's a quick roundup of today's bullish brokerage notes on ACT, BABA, and FB.

  • ACT is pointed 1.4% higher in electronic trading, after announcing it completed the acquisition of Allergan, Inc. (NYSE:AGN) and that a new therapeutic dose for its anti-depression drug has been approved by the FDA. In response, Goldman Sachs reinstated ACT to its "conviction buy" list and set a price target of $365, and Morgan Stanley lifted its price target to $343 from $315 while underscoring an "overweight" rating. At Monday's close, Actavis plc was perched at an even $305, and has gained about 42.4% year-over-year, touching a record high of $306.35 yesterday. Accordingly, calls have been popular in the options pits, as ACT's 10-day International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) call/put volume ratio of 3.10 sits in the 72nd percentile of its annual range.

  • BABA was upgraded to "buy" from "hold" and added to Stifel's "select list." (Elsewhere, Morgan Stanley cut its price target to $102.30 from $110.80, but reiterated an "overweight" opinion.) On the charts, Alibaba Group Holding Ltd has been struggling recently, down over 19% year-to-date to hit $84. However, the brokerage bunch is almost unanimously bullish on the stock, as 22 out of 23 analysts rate it a "buy" or better, with no "sell" opinions to be found. What's more, the stock's consensus 12-month price target of $111.39 stands at a 32.6% premium to current trading levels.

  • FB is about 0.5% higher in electronic trading, after Brean Capital initiated coverage on the security with a price target of $96 and a "buy" rating, while Nomura raised its price target by $6 to $96 while underscoring a "buy" opinion. The bullish attention isn't surprising, given that Facebook Inc is up 42.8% from its April 28 annual low of $54.66 to reach $78.07. However, short-term puts are more prominent than usual in the options pits, per FB's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 0.73, which sits in the 72nd percentile of all similar annual readings.

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