Analyst Upgrades: Actavis plc, Alibaba Group Holding Limited, and Facebook, Inc.

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

by Griffin Kruse

Published on Mar 17, 2015 at 9:23 AM
Updated on Apr 20, 2015 at 5:32 PM

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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