Analysts Predict New Highs for These 3 Stocks

Netflix and UnitedHealth both posted better-than-expected third-quarter earnings

Katie Coburn
Oct 17, 2017 at 10:19 AM
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Analysts are weighing in streaming entertainment service Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX), Dow stock UnitedHealth Group Inc (NYSE:UNH), and biotech Biogen Inc (NASDAQ:BIIB). Here's a quick roundup of today's bullish brokerage notes on shares of NFLX, UNH, and BIIB.

Netflix Earnings Impress Analysts

Netflix stock is down 0.1% to trade at $202.59, reversing pre-market gains, despite the company's better-than-expected earnings and subscriber growth for the third quarter. The company said it plans to release 80 new original films in 2018 to pull in more viewers. Following Netflix's earnings beat, no fewer than nine brokerage firms upped their price targets on the FAANG stock, including a price-target hike to $250 from $210 from RBC -- representing upside of roughly 24% to current levels, and in record-high territory.

NFLX shares have been on the rise this year, gaining 61.6% and touching an all-time best of $202.83 yesterday. What's more, a short squeeze could propel the security even higher. In total, 26.6 million shares are sold short, or 6.3% of the equity's total available float. At the stock's average daily trading volume, it would take nearly a week to cover these shorted shares.

Analyst Expects Record Highs for UnitedHealth Stock

Another stock on the move this morning thanks to better-than-expected earnings is UnitedHealth Group, last seen trading 4.7% higher at $202.26, and just off a fresh all-time high of $203.50. As such, BMO initiated coverage on UNH with an "outperform" rating and set its price target at $250 -- in uncharted territory.

Late last week, UNH stock fell as low as $186 -- its lowest level since July -- after President Trump signed an executive order aimed at rolling back parts of Obamacare. However, the stock found support at its historically bullish 80-day moving average, and is extending its string of positive earnings reactions.

Despite the equity's recent pullback, near-term options have favored calls of late. The security's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 0.92 sits in just the 7th percentile of its annual range, indicating short-term options traders have rarely been more call-heavy during the past 12 months.

Biogen Hits Fresh High After Stifel, Mizuho Upgrade to 'Buy'

Biogen stock is up 1.8% to trade at $341.64, and hit a fresh two-year high of $346.39 earlier, after Stifel and Mizuho upgraded the stock to "buy," from "hold" and "neutral," respectively. Both brokerage firms also raised their price targets on BIIB, with Stifel upping its to $415 from $300, and Mizuho boosting its target to $400 from $319, and the analysts waxing optimistic on Biogen's spinal muscular atrophy and Alzheimer's drugs. The stock hasn't topped $400 since early 2015.

BIIB shares have tacked on 34% in 2017, and short sellers are starting to take note and jump ship. Short interest on the equity dropped 13.4% during the last reporting period, to just 3.3 million shares, or only 1.5% of BIIB stock's total available float.


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