Analyst Update: BlackBerry, Tower Semicon, Linear Tech

Analysts adjusted their ratings on BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY), Tower Semiconductor Ltd. (USA) (NASDASQ:TSEM), and Linear Technology Corporation (NASDAQ:LLTC)

May 14, 2015 at 1:40 PM
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Analysts are weighing in today on mobile device concern BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY), semiconductor manufacturer Tower Semiconductor Ltd. (USA) (NASDAQ:TSEM), and integrated circuit specialist Linear Technology Corporation (NASDAQ:LLTC). Here's a quick look at today's brokerage notes on BBRY, TSEM, and LLTC. 

  • Cowen and Company raised its price target on BBRY to $11 from $10 while underscoring its "market perform" rating, amid lingering rumors that the company is a potential takeover target for Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL). Today, the shares of BlackBerry Ltd are 0.4% higher at $10.30, and since hitting an annual low of $8.59 on March 31, are up over 20%. However, options traders have been picking up puts at a faster-than-usual clip, as BBRY's 50-day International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) put/call volume ratio of 0.46 is higher than 86% of all similar readings from the past year. The brokerage bunch has been skeptical of the equity as well, as about 84% of covering analysts rate it a "hold" or worse. Meanwhile, short interest declined by 11.8% during the last reporting period, but still accounts for 17% of the stock's available float. It would take these bettors nearly 11 sessions to cover their positions, at average trading volumes. Should BBRY extend its recent rebound, a short squeeze could add fuel to the fire.
  • The shares of TSEM are 4.7% higher at $15.99, after the company's first-quarter earnings and current-quarter guidance surpassed expectations. Reacting was Ascendiant Capital, which raised its price target on the stock to $28 from $24 -- in five-year-high territory -- while reiterating its "buy" opinion. Technically speaking, today's positive price action is more of the same for Tower Semiconductor Ltd., as the shares are up 85.9% year-over-year. Accordingly, traders have favored calls over puts in the options pits -- over the past 10 days at the ISE, CBOE, and PHLX, 19.59 TSEM calls have been bought to open for every put.  
  • J.P. Morgan Securities upgraded LLTC to "neutral" from "underweight" and raised its price target to $48 from $40, sending the shares 1.6% higher to $46.79. Looking back, Linear Technology Corporation has been fairly range-bound in 2015, with the shares trading between $45 and $49. Year-to-date, though, the shares are up 2.6%. Options traders have been betting on a pullback, as LLTC's 10-day ISE/CBOE/PHLX put/call volume ratio of 3.26 stands in the 94th annual percentile. Simply stated, puts have only been bought to open with more rapidity 6% of the time over the past year. Short sellers have taken a shine to the security as well, as short interest surged by 9.4% during the last reporting period. It now comprises 5.5% of LLTC's available float, which would take five sessions to buy back, at average trading volumes.

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