3 Stocks Popping On New 'Buy' Ratings

LSCC and GPRO garnered fresh "buy" ratings this morning

Oct 18, 2017 at 10:34 AM
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Analysts are weighing in on semiconductor concern Lattice Semiconductor Corp (NASDAQ:LSCC), camera maker GoPro Inc (NASDAQ:GPRO), and Dow stock Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK). Here's a quick roundup of today's bullish brokerage notes on shares of LSCC, GPRO, and MRK.

Lattice Semiconductor Stock Scores First 'Buy' Rating in 5 Months

Lattice Semiconductor stock is up 5.1% to trade at $5.78, after Jefferies upgraded LSCC to "buy" from "hold," and raised its price target to $7 from $6.50 -- the security's first "buy" rating in five months. The brokerage firm cited the company's takeover potential, and said it could benefit from a "4th tectonic shift in computing."

LSCC shares haven't visited $7 since early August. The stock has remained in a steady decline since then, hitting an annual low of $5.05 on Sept. 26, after President Trump barred China's Canyon Bridge Capital Partners from buying the security earlier in the month.

The stock is still down 21.5% year-to-date, though, and most analysts are on the bearish bandwagon. Up to yesterday's close, all three analysts following the shares rated them a lukewarm "hold."

Analyst Thinks GoPro's Recent Selloff Was 'Overdone'

Another stock climbing the charts this morning is GoPro, last seen trading 4.8% higher at $9.68, after Longbow Research upgraded the stock to "buy" from "neutral."  The brokerage firm said the recent selloff -- likely sparked by Google's recently launched Clips smart camera -- was "overdone," and the product does not pose a competitive threat to GoPro.

Nevertheless, GPRO shares are still down 32.8% from this time last year. The stock surged the charts briefly in September, hitting a 10-month high of $11.89, but was swiftly rejected by its 100-week moving average, with the shares tumbling back into single-digit territory.

In light of this price action, options traders have been upping the bearish ante. GPRO's 10-day put/call volume ratio of 1.30 on the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and the NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) ranks in the 81st percentile of its annual range. In other words, options players have bought to open puts relative to calls at a faster-than-usual clip in recent weeks.

Merck Stock Jumps on FDA Nod, Upgrade

Merck stock is up 0.5% this morning at $63.57, after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will give AstraZeneca's ovarian cancer drug Lynparza -- jointly developed and marketed with MRK -- a priority review for use in treating breast cancer. Adding to the bullish buzz is an upgrade to "buy" from "neutral" at Citigroup -- the first of its kind for the drug stock from the brokerage firm -- which also raised its price target to $72 from $65, citing high expectations for Keytruda sales.

This new price target sits in territory not seen since May 2001. More recently, the security hit a 15-year high of $66.80 on March 1, and this area has kept a tight lid on the shares in the months since. Most analysts expect MRK to continue to stall out here, too, with the average 12-month price target docked just above at $69.60.


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