Analyst Upgrades: Alibaba Group Holding Limited, Salesforce.com, inc., and Williams-Sonoma, Inc.

Analysts upwardly revised their ratings on Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (NYSE:BABA), Salesforce.com, inc. (NYSE:CRM), and Williams-Sonoma, Inc. (NYSE:WSM)

by Alex Eppstein

Published on May 21, 2015 at 9:24 AM

Analysts are weighing in today on e-commerce issue Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (NYSE:BABA), cloud concern Salesforce.com, inc. (NYSE:CRM), and home furnishings specialist Williams-Sonoma, Inc. (NYSE:WSM). Here's a quick roundup of today's bullish brokerage notes on BABA, CRM, and WSM.

  • Bernstein started coverage on BABA with an "outperform" rating and $120 price target -- matching the stock's all-time high -- sending the shares 1.1% higher in electronic trading. This is business as usual among analysts, who are extremely positive toward the stock. In fact, all 23 analysts tracking Alibaba Group Holding Ltd consider it a "buy" or better, and its average 12-month price target of $107.90 stands at a 19% premium to Wednesday's close at $90.70. The optimism is prevalent even as BABA has struggled on the charts. Since hitting the aforementioned record high of $120 last November, the shares have lost 24.4%, and to recover, will need to overcome a potential layer of resistance in the $90-$92 neighborhood -- where BABA landed after a late-January bear gap.

  • CRM is taking off ahead of the bell, after the company raised its full-year revenue forecast and reported better-than-expected quarterly profits. The news has been met with a bevy of positive analyst attention for the consummate takeover candidate. No fewer than 13 brokerage firms have upped their assessments of Salesforce.com, inc., with Deutsche Bank setting the highest bar, at $90 -- a 28.3% premium to yesterday's close at $70.16. In addition, Argus upgraded CRM to "buy" from "hold." This is par for the course, as 25 analysts rate the equity a "buy" or better, compared to four "holds" and just one "sell." On the charts, it's been a good year for the shares, which have advanced 18.3% year-to-date atop support from their 40-day trendline. As alluded to, CRM is poised to gap higher out of the gate, up 4.1% in pre-market activity.

  • WSM is pointed 3.7% higher ahead of the open, after an earnings beat was greeted with applause on the Street. Specifically, no fewer than five brokerage firms boosted their price targets, with UBS leading the pack with an upward revision to $84 from $78. Likely looking forward to Williams-Sonoma, Inc.'s potential upside gap are call buyers. During the past four weeks at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), traders have bought to open more than two calls for every put. Technically speaking, 2015 has been a ho-hum year for WSM, which has added just under 3% to rest at $77.89.

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