Analyst Update: Morgan Stanley, QUALCOMM, Inc., and Palo Alto Networks Inc

Analysts adjusted their ratings and price targets on Morgan Stanley (MS), QUALCOMM, Inc. (QCOM), and Palo Alto Networks Inc (PANW)

by Kirra Fedyszyn

Published on Feb 16, 2016 at 3:17 PM

Analysts are weighing in on financial concern Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS), tech stock QUALCOMM, Inc. (NASDAQ:QCOM), and cybersecurity interest Palo Alto Networks Inc (NYSE:PANW). Here's a quick roundup of today's brokerage notes on MS, QCOM, and PANW.

  • MS is 2.4% higher at $23.64, after J.P. Morgan Securities upgraded the stock --and this blue-chip peer -- to "overweight" from "neutral," while also lowering its price target to $29 from $33. In addition, traders are mulling comments from new Minnesota Fed President Neel Kashkari regarding banks that are still "too big to fail." The stock -- like many of its sector comrades -- has been in a downtrend since last July, and has shed more than a quarter of its value already if 2016, hitting a two-year low last week on news that the company will have to pay a $3.2 billion settlement for its role in the 2008 mortgage crisis. Morgan Stanley has underperformed the S&P 500 Index (SPX) by more than 24 percentage points over the past three months, but nearly half of analysts still rate the security a "buy" or better.
  • Bernstein raised its rating on QCOM to "outperform," sending the shares up 4.7% to $46.64, despite Jana Partners reducing its stake in the company by 67.7%. QUALCOMM, Inc. has been moving lower for more than 18 months, hitting a five-year low of $42.24 just last week, not long after issuing a weak current-quarter outlook. But option traders have been eyeing a rebound for the stock. At the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), the equity's 50-day call/put volume ratio of 4.83 outranks 94% of all readings from the past year. 
  • PANW is also higher today, up 3.9% at $128.57, after D.A. Davidson upgraded the stock to "buy" from "neutral." The brokerage firm set its price target at a healthy $186 -- a 44.7% premium to PANW's current price. Analysts have been quite bullish on Palo Alto Networks Inc lately, with 24 out of 28 brokerage firms rating it a "buy" or better, despite the shares underperforming the SPX by more than 26 percentage points over the last two months. In fact, the stock hit a yearly low of $111.09 just last week, and is off 27.1% year-to-date. But option traders have maintained their optimism, as well -- PANW's 10-day call/put volume ratio at the ISE, CBOE, and PHLX is in the 90th percentile of its annual range, at 1.77. The company will report its fiscal second-quarter earnings next Thursday.
For other stocks in analysts' crosshairs, read Analyst Upgrades: Goldman Sachs Group Inc, Micron Technology, Inc., and BioMarin Pharmaceutical Inc. and Analyst Downgrades: Twitter Inc, Peabody Energy Corporation, and Community Health Systems.

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