Apple, NetApp, Popeyes Upgraded

Wall Street analysts weighed in bullishly on Apple Inc. (AAPL), NetApp Inc. (NTAP), and Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen Inc (PLKI)

Alex Eppstein
Feb 14, 2017 at 9:16 AM
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Analysts are weighing in on blue chip Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), tech stock NetApp Inc. (NASDAQ:NTAP), and chicken restaurant Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen Inc (NASDAQ:PLKI). Here's a roundup of today's bullish brokerage notes on AAPL, NTAP, and PLKI shares.

Apple Gets Bullish Nod After Record Close

Fresh off yesterday's intraday annual high of $133.82 and record closing high of $133.29, AAPL received a price-target hike to $155 from $142 at Independent Research. The stock's upbeat technical backdrop perhaps explains why options traders have targeted calls over puts at an accelerated clip in recent weeks. At the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), Apple Inc. has racked up a 10-day call/put volume ratio of 1.81. Not only does this indicate traders have bought to open almost twice as many calls as puts in the past two weeks, but it also ranks in the bullishly skewed top-third of all comparable readings taken in the past year.

NetApp Eyes $40 Level Ahead of Earnings

Piper Jaffray upgraded NTAP's rating to "overweight" from "neutral" ahead of the company's earnings report tomorrow night. The boost is well-deserved, considering the shares hit a two-year high of $39.84 yesterday, before settling at $39.58. At the same time, there's plenty of room for additional upgrades. Twenty-three of 26 analysts maintain "hold" or "strong sell" recommendations toward NetApp Inc. Ahead of the open, the stock has tacked on 1.2%, suggesting it could take out the round $40 level out of the gate.

Popeyes Down Despite Price-Target Hike

PLKI has plunged 5.3% ahead of the open, suggesting it will retrace some of Monday's M&A-induced gains. Specifically, according to sources, Burger King parent Restaurant Brands International Inc (NYSE:QSR) may try to buy Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen Inc. The news sent PLKI stock to a record high of $75.74 yesterday, before it settled at $70.82. In response, Maxim lifted its price target to $70 from $63. One group that's likely smarting on the buyout buzz is short sellers. Short interest on PLKI shares surged nearly 27% in the latest reporting period, and it would take over a week to cover these bearish positions, at the stock's average trading volume.

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