Analyst Upgrades: LinkedIn Corp, Baidu Inc, and Starbucks Corporation

Analysts upwardly revised their ratings on LinkedIn Corp (NYSE:LNKD), Baidu Inc (ADR) (NASDAQ:BIDU), and Starbucks Corporation (NASDAQ:SBUX)

by Josh Selway

Published on Oct 30, 2015 at 8:51 AM

Analysts are weighing in on professional networking site LinkedIn Corp (NYSE:LNKD), Chinese search name Baidu Inc (ADR) (NASDAQ:BIDU), and coffee marvel Starbucks Corporation (NASDAQ:SBUX). Here's a quick roundup of today's bullish brokerage notes on LNKD, BIDU, and SBUX.

  • LNKD is poised to open at its highest point in nearly six months, as the company last night topped the Street's expectations in the earnings booth. The shares are sitting 12.4% higher in electronic trading, also benefiting from no fewer than 15 price-target hikes. The most ambitious mark came from Jefferies, which upped its price target to $310 from $300, representing a nearly 43% premium to last night's close at $217, and all-time-high territory. The expected gains will also boost LinkedIn Corp into the black on a year-to-date basis, and the shares may not be done there. LNKD could benefit amid an exodus of near-term option bears. Specifically, the stock's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 1.20 is only 1 percentage point from an annual high.  
  • BIDU is also ready to rally on strong quarterly results, as the stock's pointed 6.1% higher ahead of the open. As of last night's settlement of $168.99, the shares had given back more than one-fourth of their value in 2015. Piper Jaffray, for one, has high expectations, raising its price target to $220 from $210. Most analysts are already in Baidu Inc's (ADR) corner, as it boasts seven "strong buy" recommendations, compared to just two "holds" and no "sells." 
  • Even though the company announced impressive fiscal fourth-quarter numbers, SBUX is sitting slightly lower in pre-market action, due to a tepid current-quarter forecast. Even so, the post-event analyst attention has been bullish, with six brokerage firms upping their price targets, including BTIG, which set its 12-month expectations at $75 -- a neighborhood never before explored by Starbucks Corporation. The shares had added 61.7% during the past 12 months, as of last night's close at $62.50, and just touched an all-time high of $63.84 on Monday. However, today could mark the setback put players have been betting on. SBUX's 50-day International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) put/call volume ratio of 0.80 is only 2 percentage points from an annual bearish extreme. So, puts have been bought to open over calls at a faster-than-usual rate in recent weeks. 
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