The FAANG Stock at Record Highs in Early Trading

Vertex Pharmaceuticals' combination cystic fibrosis treatment exceeded Wall Street's expectations

Jul 19, 2017 at 10:28 AM
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Analysts are weighing in on drugmaker Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated (NASDAQ:VRTX), alternative energy stock First Solar, Inc. (NASDAQ:FSLR), and FAANG member Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB). Here's a quick roundup of today's bullish brokerage notes on shares of VRTX, FSLR, and FB.

VRTX Stock Aims for Record Highs After Cystic Fibrosis Data

Vertex Pharmaceuticals stock has surged 25% to trade at $165.70 -- earlier hitting a new record high of $167 -- after data from the drugmaker's combination cystic fibrosis treatments arrived well above what Wall Street was expecting. J.P. Morgan Securities was left "speechless" after the results, while no fewer than three brokerage firms upgraded VRTX stock to the equivalent of a "buy" or better rating and at least eight raised their price targets on the shares. 

The equity was already up more than 79% year-to-date heading into today's trading, with some of these gains likely fueled by a steady round of short-covering. Since its mid-January peak, short interest on VRTX has declined 43% to 3.8 million shares, or 1.9 times the stock's average daily pace of trading.

First Solar Shares Extend SunPower-Induced Surge

Deutsche Bank upped its price target on First Solar stock to $47 from $38. The shares of FSLR have rallied more than 73% in the past three months, and yesterday closed an early August bear gap as solar stocks rallied with SunPower shares. FSLR stock is extending this momentum today, jumping 4% to trade at $45.83 -- and a continued surge could encourage more analysts to upwardly revise their ratings. As of last night's close, 11 of the 17 brokerages covering the security maintained a "hold" or "strong sell."

Facebook PT Raised as Snap Risk Lessened

Needham upped its price target on Facebook stock to $185 from $165, and lifted its estimates for the current quarter, 2017, and 2018 -- saying competition from rival Snap is not as bad as the brokerage firm initially anticipated. In reaction, FB stock is trading up 0.8% at $164.23, and earlier notched a new record high of $164.36. FB options traders are betting on even higher highs for the stock by week's end, too. In early action, the July 165 call is most active, and it looks like speculators are purchasing new positions here.

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