Madison Square Garden Stock Upgraded After Spin-Off Plans

The company is considering separating its sports and entertainment businesses

Jun 28, 2018 at 10:10 AM
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Shares of Madison Square Garden Co (NYSE:MSG) are surging, after the entertainment issue said it's board of directors unanimously approved a plan to explore a possible spin-off of its sports business, which includes the New York Knicks and New York Rangers. A bullish brokerage note is only fueling the upside, with MSG stock up 11.5% to trade at $296.95 -- fresh off a record high of $298.43.

Specifically, Jefferies upgraded the security to "buy" from "hold," and boosted its price target to $350 from $233 -- a more than 31% premium to last night's close. This just echoes the generally upbeat bias toward MSG from the brokerage bunch, with the majority of those in coverage maintaining a "strong buy" rating. However, more price-target hikes could come down the pike, considering the average 12-month price target sits at $281.26, a discount to the equity's current perch.

A number of short sellers are likely breathing a sigh of relief amid today's pop. Short interest on MSG plunged 12.4% in the most recent reporting period to 660,000 shares. However, it would still take more than three days to cover the remaining bearish bets, pointing to more buying power that's sitting on the sidelines.

Looking at the charts, today's positive price action is nothing new for Madison Square Garden shares. The stock has gained more than 43% since taking a sharp bounce off its 200-day moving average in mid-February, and a recent pullback from its previous highs near $285 was quickly contained by MSG's rising 40-day moving average.


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