Analyst Upgrades: First Solar, Inc., Halliburton Company, and Smith & Wesson Holding Corp

Analysts upwardly revised their ratings and price targets on First Solar, Inc. (FSLR), Halliburton Company (HAL), and Smith & Wesson Holding Corp (SWHC)

by Kirra Fedyszyn

Published on Jan 5, 2016 at 9:24 AM

Analysts are weighing in on energy concern First Solar, Inc. (NASDAQ:FSLR), oil interest Halliburton Company (NYSE:HAL), and firearms manufacturer Smith & Wesson Holding Corp (NASDAQ:SWHC). Here's a quick roundup of today's bullish brokerage notes on FSLR, HAL, and SWHC.

  • FSLR is pointed 6.3% higher in pre-market trading -- and should explore new annual highs -- after Goldman Sachs upgraded the stock to a "buy" and raised its price target considerably, to $100 from $61, citing a "best-in-class balance sheet." Adding to that, Oppenheimer lifted its price target to $76 from $66. First Solar, Inc. added nearly 50% over the past year, and closed Monday at $66.72 -- not far off an annual high of $67.80, seen in late December. Near-term option traders have certainly been watching FSLR for possible upside. The stock has a Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 0.65 -- higher than only 7% of the past year's readings. That means the preference for calls over puts among options expiring in the next three months has rarely been higher. And the security could benefit from future upgrades -- seven of the 17 analysts following the stock still call it a "hold" or worse.
  • Keybanc raised its rating on HAL to "overweight," after the stock closed Monday at $34.48. Halliburton Company could use a boost, too, as the stock has been sinking on the charts since peaking north of $70 in mid-2014, slumping along with oil prices. But while HAL has underperformed the S&P 500 Index (SPX) by nearly 15 percentage points over the last three months, analysts have been quite bullish, with 16 out of 22 maintaining a "buy" rating or better. Option traders appear equally optimistic -- at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), the equity has a 10-day call/put volume ratio of 2.65, higher than 87% of all readings in the last 12 months, and indicating nearly three calls bought for each put over the last 10 trading days.
  • After finishing a strong session Monday at $23.28, SWHC is headed 7.4% higher ahead of the bell, on pace to hit a new all-time high. The stock was boosted yesterday ahead of expected gun control measures, and today is rallying after Smith & Wesson Holding Corp hiked its current-quarter and fiscal-year guidance. As such, BB&T upgraded the stock to "buy" from "hold," while Cowen and Company and Wunderlich raised their price targets to $27 and $29, respectively. The shares have put in an impressive performance over the past year, skyrocketing 146%. Additional price-target hikes could bolster SWHC even more, as the average 12-month price target of $24.90 is just a stone's throw from the stock's current perch.
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