UBS Bull Note Boosts IBM Shares

UBS sees growth from IBM's analytics and cloud businesses in 2020

Josh Selway
Sep 26, 2018 at 9:51 AM
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IBM Corp (NYSE:IBM) is getting a lift today thanks to positive analyst attention, something it hasn't seen a lot of in the past. UBS this morning upgraded the Dow stock to "buy" from "neutral" and moved its price target up to $180 from $160. The brokerage firm expects strength in services and artificial intelligence to outweigh the weakness from the company's legacy businesses. Moreover, while it doesn't see meaningful advances in IBM's cloud and analytics businesses next year, it expects revenue growth to pick up in 2020.

As alluded to, most analysts remain skeptical of Big Blue. There are 16 brokerage firms covering the shares, and 10 of them have just "hold" ratings in place. But at the same time, the average 12-month price target of $162.42 price target prices in meaningful upside, since the stock was last seen trading at $152, up 2.1% today.

Recent options activity has already been bullish. Looking at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), IBM's 10-day call/put volume ratio stands at 2.49, meaning call buying has more than doubled put buying during the past two weeks.

Overall, it's been a somewhat volatile year on the charts for the tech giant. The shares briefly traded above $170 back in January, only to fall to the mid-$140s just a month later. Then in April the stock experienced a major bear gap, and it eventually hit an annual low of $137.45 by late June. IBM has since recovered some, and is now trading right near both its 200- and 320-day moving averages.

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