Analyst Upgrades: Apple Inc., Gilead Sciences, Inc., and Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc

Analysts upwardly revised their ratings on Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), Gilead Sciences, Inc. (NASDAQ:GILD), and Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc (NASDAQ:WBA)

by Josh Selway

Published on Oct 28, 2015 at 9:30 AM

Analysts are weighing in on tech behemoth Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), biotech Gilead Sciences, Inc. (NASDAQ:GILD), and pharmacy chain Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc (NASDAQ:WBA). Here's a quick roundup of today's bullish brokerage notes on AAPL, GILD, and WBA.

  • AAPL last night reported solid fiscal fourth-quarter numbers, beating its per-share profit estimate for the 12th straight quarter -- though the company's current-quarter revenue forecast was less encouraging. Regardless, the stock has added 1.9% in electronic trading. The shares settled Tuesday at $114.55, 3.8% higher in 2015, but are still looking up at their 10-month moving average, a level they haven't conquered on a closing basis since July. Still, many on the Street upped their assessments following the quarterly event. Pacific Crest, for one, raised its opinion to "overweight," while Piper Jaffray, Barclays, and JMP Securities all lifted their price targets. Credit Suisse, on the other hand, lowered its price target to $140 -- though this still represents all-time-high territory for Apple Inc. Meanwhile, traders at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) have been placing bearish bets over bullish in recent months, per AAPL's 50-day put/call volume ratio of 0.70 -- in the 92nd percentile of its annual range.
  • GILD topped analysts' expectations in the earnings booth last night, and has since received price-target hikes from Jefferies (to $111), Morgan Stanley (to $123), and Cowen and Company (to $130). While this all sounds great, traders still aren't impressed, as the stock is set to open 1.9% lower -- pressured by flattening demand for the company's heptatitis C treatments. Longer term, Gilead Sciences, Inc. maintains a 17.7% year-to-date lead, settling Tuesday at $110.96, but the shares have struggled to break out above their 100-day moving average in recent months. Option traders aren't concerned, though. GILD's 10-day ISE/CBOE/PHLX call/put volume ratio stands at 2.97. Not only does this mean roughly three calls have been bought to open for every put, but the ratio also stands higher than 85% of all other readings taken in the past year, pointing to a healthier-than-usual appetite for long calls over puts. 
  • A day after getting a lift from some major M&A buzzWBA could face some difficulties after the company said it will suspend its $3 billion share buyback plan to fund its acquisition of Rite Aid Corporation (NYSE:RAD). This news is offsetting the company's better-than-forecast quarterly results. As such, the shares are pointed 2.3% lower ahead of the open, after closing Tuesday at $95.16 -- nearly 50% higher year-over-year. Elsewhere, Jefferies raised its price target by $15 to $105 ahead of the event, while Credit Suisse followed the announcement by upgrading its rating to "outperform" and lifting its price target to $110 -- all-time-high territory. This just matches the general sentiment seen from analysts. Specifically, 58% of covering brokerage firms say Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc is a "buy" or better. 
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