Wall Street Continues Its Love Affair with Streaking NetApp Stock

There is still more room for upgrades to come through on the stock

Patrick Martin
Apr 13, 2018 at 9:56 AM
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NetApp Inc. (NASDAQ:NTAP) stock is hitting fresh highs again, after J.P. Morgan Securities initiated coverage with an "overweight" rating and price target of $80. The analyst in coverage likes NetApp's strong balance sheet and the newfound focus on software. This comes after Maxim yesterday chimed in with a price-target hike of its own, to $81 from $70.

The bullish attention is nothing new for NetApp, which garnered broad praise from Wall Street after last week's analyst day. Up 0.5% at $67.91 today and just off another 17-year high of $68.79, NTAP is currently on track for its ninth straight win, and its best weekly gain since November 2017. The shares have carved out a path of higher highs since early February, with pullbacks contained by their rising 80-day moving average. Overall, the stock has gained over 73% in the last 12 months. 

Despite the flurry of bullish analyst attention lately, many are still on fence. Of the 24 brokerages covering the equity, 12 rate it a "hold" or "strong sell." Furthermore, the stock's average 12-month price target of $70.30 sits only slightly higher than the stock's current perch. Additional upgrades and/or price-target hikes could provide more tailwinds for the security.

In the options pits, calls are all the rage lately. Data from the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) shows a 10-day call/put volume ratio of 5.32, in the 75th percentile of its annual range.

Options traders who believe the shares will keep climbing can pick up near-term contracts at a relative discount. The security's Schaeffer's Volatility Index (SVI) of 29% is in the 19th percentile of its annual range, suggesting near-term options are attractively priced, from a volatility perspective. Further, NetApp sports a Schaeffer's Volatility Scorecard (SVS) of 89 (out of 100), indicating the shares have handily exceeded option traders' volatility expectations in the past year.


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