Rare Analyst Love For One Blue Chip; Amazon Woes Keep Wind at Macy's Back

There's also noteworthy M&A buzz out of the healthcare space

by Josh Selway

Published on Mar 28, 2018 at 2:16 PM

The Dow has explored both sides of breakeven today, but was last seen in positive territory. Three names making notable moves today are telecom giant Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ), drug stock Shire PLC (NASDAQ:SHPG), and retailer Macy's Inc (NYSE:M). Here's what's moving shares of VZ, SHPG, and M.

VZ Stock Gets Rare Bull Note

Verizon stock is getting a bump today thanks to bullish attention out of HSBC. An analyst there upgraded VZ and its telecom peers AT&T (T) and T-Mobile (TMUS) to "buy" from "hold," because all are well positioned to benefit from a number of digital trends. Verizon shares were last seen trading 2.4% higher at $48.44, putting them just below the 320-day moving average that acted as a ceiling for most the month. Overall, the blue chip is down 8.5% year-to-date.

Most analysts are still on the fence when it comes to the security. There are 21 brokerage firms in coverage, and 13 of them have "hold" ratings in place. On the other hand, the average 12-month price target stands up at $56.08 -- a 16% premium to current levels.

M&A Buzz Gives SHPG a Lift

News that Japan-based Takeda Pharmaceutical is considering making an offer to buy the company has shares of Shire PLC up 15.4% at $148.68. However, the shares earlier topped out just below their year-to-date breakeven point and have moved back below a trendline connecting lower highs since late 2016, a level nearly equal to the downtrending 200-day moving average.

While this technical picture surely isn't the best, Wall Street is very bullish on SHPG. Specifically, 11 of the 14 analysts covering the security say it's a "buy," and the average 12-month price target comes in at $191.14.

Macy's Shares Rally From Technical Support

Macy's stock is up 3.6% at $28.87, thanks to reports President Trump is considering changing the tax structure for e-commerce companies like Amazon (AMZN). M shares have been pushing higher since bottoming near $17.40 back in November, recently bouncing from the $27-$28 area. This level is home to the security's big bear gap from last May, its December and January highs, as well as the 50-day moving average. Looking even closer, the shares are set to take out a trendline connecting lower highs since their Feb. 27 high of $31.04.

This recent outperformance comes despite growing short interest levels, with the number of Macy's shares held by short sellers increasing 22% in just the last reporting period. Overall, over 17% of the stock's float is now controlled by short sellers -- suggesting the retailer could benefit from a short squeeze.

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