Analyst Upgrades: VeriFone Systems Inc, Visa Inc, and Zumiez Inc.

Analysts upwardly revised their ratings on VeriFone Systems Inc (NYSE:PAY), Visa Inc (NYSE:V), and Zumiez Inc. (NASDAQ:ZUMZ)

by Karee Venema

Published on Oct 8, 2015 at 9:00 AM
Updated on Oct 8, 2015 at 9:05 AM

Analysts are weighing in on payment processing specialist VeriFone Systems Inc (NYSE:PAY), credit card concern Visa Inc (NYSE:V), and retailer Zumiez Inc. (NASDAQ:ZUMZ). Here's a quick roundup of today's bullish brokerage notes on PAY, V, and ZUMZ.

  • PAY is up 2.4% in electronic trading, after Raymond James raised its outlook on the stock to "strong buy" from "outperform." Specifically, the brokerage firm said the company's current valuation doesn't reflect its strong growth potential. Longer term, the shares have struggled, shedding 22.3% year-to-date to trade at $28.91 -- and today's projected price move could stall out near PAY's 40-day moving average, a trendline that's ushered the shares lower since June. Against this backdrop, put buyers have been busy. At the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), VeriFone Systems Inc's 10-day put/call volume ratio of 8.56 sits higher than 99% of all other readings taken in the past year. In other words, puts have been bought to open over calls at a near-annual-high clip.

  • V has been on a tear in 2015, adding nearly 12%. More recently, the shares pulled back to their 200-day moving average after tagging a record peak of $76.92 in late July, and a quick bounce off this rising trendline had the stock closing at $73.22 last night. Guggenheim thinks there's more upside on the horizon, and initiated coverage on the stock with a "buy" rating and an $85 price target. Visa Inc could get an additional boost, should short sellers capitulate to its upward momentum. At present, it would take nine sessions to cover all of V's shorted shares -- plenty of fuel for a short-covering rally.

  • It's been a tough year for ZUMZ, with the stock off 56% to churn at $16.96. The brokerage bunch has kept the faith, though, and overnight, Susquehanna raised its price target on the stock to $20 from $18. In the options pits, puts have been popular, per the equity's 50-day ISE/CBOE/PHLX put/call volume ratio of 1.39 -- in the 90th annual percentile. Echoing this is Zumiez Inc.'s Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 1.41, which rests just 2 percentage points from a 52-week high. Simply stated, short-term speculators have rarely been as put-heavy as they are now. Separately, ZUMZ reported last night September sales rose 1.5% overall, but same-store sales fell 1.8%.

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