Analyst Upgrades: Apple, Vertex Pharmaceuticals, Exelon

Analysts upwardly revised their ratings on Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated (NASDAQ:VRTX), and Exelon Corporation (NYSE:EXC)

Sep 14, 2015 at 9:26 AM
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Analysts weighed in on iPhone purveyor Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), biotech Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated (NASDAQ:VRTX), and utility services specialist Exelon Corporation (NYSE:EXC). Here's a quick roundup of today's bullish brokerage notes on AAPL, VRTX, and EXC.

  • AAPL is up 2.5% in electronic trading, as analysts continue to chime in following last week's big product reveal. Barron's, for example, said the company's new leasing option could help AAPL jump 50% in the next year (subscription required). FBR, meanwhile, waxed optimistic over Apple Inc.'s iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, explaining, "While there are still unknowns about inventory levels, we note that China demand in particular looks 'very strong' out of the gates and is a positive sign that the white-hot momentum out of this region shows no signs of abating despite macro headwinds out of China." The firm confirmed this morning that sales are on pace to break records.

    Technically speaking, AAPL could use a boost. The shares have surrendered 15% since hitting an all-time peak of $134.54 in late April, and are currently staring up at their 40-day moving average. It appears option traders have been bracing for more losses. At the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), the equity's 10-day put/call volume ratio of 0.70 ranks 4 percentage points from a 52-week peak. On Friday, AAPL closed at $114.21.

  • Barclays upped its outlook for VRTX to "overweight" from "equal weight" and its price target to $150 from $120 -- territory yet to be charted. However, record highs are not out of the question for a stock that's up almost 13% year-to-date, and fresh off an Aug. 10 all-time peak of $143.45. More recently, Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated has been hovering at $134.06 -- just north of its 10-week moving average. Against this backdrop, speculators have been initiating long calls over puts at a faster-than-usual pace. VRTX's 10-day ISE/CBOE/PHLX call/put volume ratio of 2.57 rests in the 75th percentile of its annual range. Ahead of the open, the stock is pointed 1.1% higher.

  • EXC saw its rating raised to "buy" from "neutral" and its price target boosted to $33 from $30. The bullish brokerage note has done little to move the stock ahead of the bell, with EXC lingering around where it settled last week, at $29.70. Longer term, the shares have struggled in 2015, shedding nearly one-fifth of their value. Put players have been piling on, too, per the equity's 10-day ISE/CBOE/PHLX put/call volume ratio of 2.52 -- in the 94th annual percentile. Echoing this is Exelon Corporation's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 0.60, which ranks higher than 72% of all similar readings taken in the past year. In other words, short-term traders are more put-heavy than usual.

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