MSFT, AKS, BIIB Stocks Upgraded Today

Call buying is at an annual extreme on Biogen shares

Jun 19, 2017 at 9:24 AM
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Analysts are weighing in on Dow stock Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT), steel producer AK Steel Holding Corporation (NYSE:AKS), and drugmaker Biogen Inc (NASDAQ:BIIB). Here's a quick roundup of today's bullish brokerage notes on shares of MSFT, AKS, and BIIB.

Morgan Stanley Expects Stronger Earnings from MSFT

Microsoft stock is gaining 0.8% ahead of the open, thanks to a price-target hike to $80 from $72 at Morgan Stanley -- representing record-high territory for the shares. The brokerage firm expects better earnings growth from the software company, thanks in part to its purchase of LinkedIn. MSFT shares closed at $70 on Friday, up 40% year-over-year and fewer than two points above their 50-day moving average, which has served as stiff support over the time period. As such, there's little disagreement elsewhere in the analyst community, with 18 of 22 brokerages rating Microsoft a "strong buy." 

AKS Stock Upgraded to "Buy" at Longbow 

AK Steel stock has added 2.3% in pre-market trading, after Longbow Research upgraded the shares to "buy" from "neutral," and set a $10 price target of the shares. While only 30% of covering analysts had a "buy" or better rating on AKS coming into today, the stock's average 12-month price target stands at $8.47 -- well above Friday's close at $5.99. AK Steel has underperformed since topping out at a five-year high of $11.39 in December, and while they seemingly bottomed near $5.30 a month ago, they're now struggling to overcome their 320-day moving average. 

Call Buying Surges on BIIB Stock

BIIB stock has received mixed attention from the brokerage crowd this morning. UBS upgraded the shares to "neutral" from "sell," and bumped its price target up to $270 from $262, but Raymond James dropped its price target to $329 from $333. Still, the latter price represents almost two-year-high territory for Biogen.

At $251.74, the shares remain 3.6% lower on a year-to-date basis, but options traders have been extremely bullish. For example, BIIB has a 10-day call/put volume ratio of 4.09 at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), which is a 52-week high. In other words, call buying has been much more popular than normal, relative to put buying. 

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