Morgan Stanley Predicts Fresh Highs for Applied Materials Stock

ABCO short sellers have been hitting the exits in recent weeks

Jul 7, 2017 at 10:12 AM
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Analysts are weighing in on mining stock Cliffs Natural Resources Inc (NYSE:CLF), business support specialist The Advisory Board Company (NASDAQ:ABCO), and semiconductor equipment maker Applied Materials, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMAT). Here's a quick roundup of today's bullish brokerage notes on shares of CLF, ABCO, and AMAT.

CLF Bounces After Bull Note

Cliffs Natural Resources stock is up 2.9% at $6.83, after Jefferies initiated coverage with a "buy" recommendation and price target of $9. CLF touched a two-year high of $12.37 in February, but lost roughly half its value over the next few months, ultimately finding support in the $5.60 area. More recently, the metal stock has attempted a rebound, adding 13% in the past month to rise back atop its 50-day moving average.

CLF's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 0.33 is in only the 8th percentile of its annual range. This means near-term options traders are much more call-heavy than usual. However, now is an opportune time to buy Cliffs Natural Resources' short-term options. The stock's Schaeffer's Volatility Index (SVI) of 62% is in just the 10th percentile of its annual range, pointing to attractive premiums, from a historical volatility standpoint. Further, CLF stock sports a Schaeffer's Volatility Scorecard (SVS) of 95, indicating the shares have exceeded options traders' volatility expectations over the past year.

ABCO Stock Puts More Pressure on Shorts

Shares of The Advisory Board are up 19.8% at $64.95, thanks to a price-target hike to $56 from $48 at Stifel. The stock had a huge day yesterday, touching an annual high of $59.50. As such, it's not entirely surprising to see short sellers hitting the exits. Over the past two reporting periods, short interest on The Advisory Board has fallen by 13.5%. Almost a week's worth of buying power is still controlled by these bears, going by average daily volumes, so there's room for this trend to continue.

Morgan Stanley Eyes Multi-Year Highs* for AMAT Stock

Morgan Stanley raised its price target on Applied Materials stock to $52 from $47, helping guide the shares 2.3% higher to $43.06. AMAT hit a roughly 17-year high of $47.86 on June 9, and year-over-year it's up more than 78%. This price action has led to an overwhelmingly bullish bias among analysts. By the numbers, 13 of 16 brokerage firms say to buy AMAT stock

*Editor's note: This article incorrectly described $52 as representing a "record high" for AMAT. We regret the error.

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