Analyst Upgrades: Aetna, Newmont Mining, Microsemi

Analysts upwardly revised their ratings on Aetna Inc (AET), Newmont Mining Corp (NEM), and Microsemi Corporation (MSCC)

Mar 19, 2015 at 9:19 AM
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Analysts are weighing in today on healthcare provider Aetna Inc (NYSE:AET), precious metal firm Newmont Mining Corporation (NYSE:NEM), and semiconductor issue Microsemi Corporation (NASDAQ:MSCC). Here's a quick roundup of today's bullish brokerage notes on AET, NEM, and MSCC.

  • Sterne Agee raised its rating on AET to "buy" from "neutral." The upgrade comes as no surprise, considering Aetna Inc has advanced nearly 21% year-to-date to perch at $107.48. What's more, the stock touched an all-time high of $107.86 just yesterday, benefiting from broad-market tailwinds following an announcement from the Fed. However, sentiment in the options pits has been somewhat bearish, as AET's 10-day International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) put/call volume ratio of 0.97 stands higher than 69% of all equivalent ratings taken over the past year. Ahead of the bell, AET is pointed modestly higher, and could continue to assail new heights.

  • NEM is fractionally higher in electronic trading, after HSBC hiked its rating of the equity to "overweight" from "neutral." On the charts, the stock is up almost 30% since notching a 13-year low of $17.60 on Dec. 16, to close yesterday at $22.87. Puts have been a popular choice in the options pits, though, as Newmont Mining Corp's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 1.85 stands in the 96th percentile of its annual range. Simply stated, traders have rarely been more put-skewed over the past year.

  • On the heels of yesterday's announcement that MSCC is acquiring sector peer Vitesse Semiconductor (NASDAQ:VTSS) for $389 million, both Raymond James and Stifel raised their price targets on the equity to $40, with the former underscoring a "strong buy" rating, and the latter reiterating a "buy" opinion. Looking back, Microsemi Corporation has been a technical outperformer, with the shares up 22.2% year-to-date to reach $34.68, and yesterday touching an all-time high of $35.01. What's more, the stock is pointed higher ahead of the bell, and could take out its recent peaks. Short-term puts have been more prominent than usual in the options pits, as MSCC's SOIR of 3.04 ranks in the 81st percentile of its annual range. However, the brokerage bunch is mostly bullish, as two-thirds of covering analysts rate the stock a "buy" or "strong buy," with no "sell" or worse recommendations to be found.

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