Analyst Upgrades: United Continental Holdings Inc, Sophiris Bio Inc, and VMware, Inc.

Analysts upwardly revised their ratings and price targets on United Continental Holdings Inc (NYSE:UAL), Sophiris Bio Inc (NASDAQ:SPHS), and VMware, Inc. (NYSE:VMW)

by Josh Selway

Published on Aug 30, 2016 at 9:29 AM
Updated on Aug 30, 2016 at 9:32 AM

Analysts are weighing in on airline stock United Continental Holdings Inc (NYSE:UAL), biotech Sophiris Bio Inc (NASDAQ:SPHS), and tech stock VMware, Inc. (NYSE:VMW). Here's a quick roundup of today's bullish brokerage notes on UAL, SPHS, and VMW.

  • News that Scott Kirby -- president of American Airlines Group Inc (NASDAQ:AAL) -- will be taking the same position at UAL has lifted the latter company's stock over 4% in electronic trading. What's more, Raymond James upgraded the shares to "outperform" from "market perform," while Henry Harteveldt, a travel sector analyst, tweeted that UAL "got a star player" in Kirby. Most analysts are already bullish on United Continental Holdings Inc, with six of nine rating the stock a "strong buy," and zero "sells" on the books. This optimism comes despite UAL's 18% decline in 2016, last seen at $46.95. 

  • SPHS is looking at a 6.5% jump when the market opens, after Piper Jaffray initiated coverage with an "overweight" recommendation and a $7 price target -- more than double the stock's Monday close at $3.37. This bullish note comes after Sophiris Bio Inc on Friday said it has closed the public offering it announced a week ago. At the same time, analysts are already pretty high on SPHS, as its average 12-month price target comes in at a lofty $7.83 -- not surprising, considering the shares' 89% gain in 2016.

  • VMW has gapped higher twice in the past four months, and has surged 33% year-to-date gain, as of yesterday's close at $75.23. The stock is looking to continue this strong showing today, up 1.3% in pre-market trading, after SunTrust Robinson upgraded its opinion to "buy" from "neutral," and boosted its price target to $92 from $64. Elsewhere, short sellers, for some reason, continue to pile on. During the past two reporting periods, short interest on VMware, Inc. increased by 18%, and now a record 23.7 million shares are sold short. Going by VMW's average daily trading pace, this translates into a stunning 12.6 days' worth of buying power -- meaning the stock could have more room to run, if these bears begin to cover
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