Front Runners: Apple Inc. (AAPL), Qihoo (QIHU), Level 3 Communications (LVLT), Netflix (NFLX), Taser International (TASR)

Apple Inc. (AAPL) hit an all-time high of $119.75 in early trade Tuesday after Stifel Nicolaus maintained the name with a ‘Buy’ and raised its price target to $130 from $115 citing the impact of Apple Watch, which will occur late in Q1’15. Stifel noted their initial guesstimate stands at 19.6M units. Using a $490 blended Watch ASP ($/unit), they arrive at a $9.6 billion incremental revenue contribution, leading the firm to raise its EPS and rev forecasts for FY2015 to $7.85 and $218.9 billion, respectively, from $7.69 and $213.3 billion.

Apple Inc., currently valued at $700.48B, has a median Wall Street price target of $120.00 with a high target of $150.00. Approximately 46M shares have already changed hands, compared to the stock’s average daily volume of 58.65M.

In the past 52 weeks, shares of the iPhone maker have traded between a low of $70.51 and a high of $119.75 with the 50-day MA and 200-day MA located at $106.59 and $98.19 levels, respectively. Additionally, shares of AAPL trade at a P/E ratio of 1.36 and have a Relative Strength Index (RSI) and MACD indicator of 83.93 and +4.57, respectively.

AAPL currently prints a one year return of about 63.11% and a year-to-date return of around 51.14%. The iPhone maker is currently the most valuable company in the world.

Qihoo 360 Technology Co. Ltd. (QIHU) gained more than 9% in midday trading after the company reported Q3 EPS and revenues better than expectations. Qihoo said non-GAAP Q3 EPS came in at $0.63, 2 cents above estimates, and 16 cents above the same period last year. Revenues were $376.4 million, above estimates of $365.35 million. The company also guided Q4 revs above expectations.

“We are pleased to deliver another quarter of strong growth and solid operational metrics,” Chairman and CEO Hongyi Zhou in a statement. “Not only did we maintain our leadership position in key PC-related product categories during the quarter, but we continued to make a significant transition to the important mobile Internet market.”

Credit Suisse upgraded the name to ‘Outperform’ following earnings.

Qihoo 360 Technology shares are currently priced at 65.80x this year’s forecasted earnings compared to the industry’s 23.52x earnings multiple. Ticker has a PEG and forward P/E ratio of 0.65 and 18.74, respectively. Price/Sales for the same period is 8.63, while EPS is $1.15. Currently there are 19 analysts that rate QIHU a ‘Buy’ and 4 a ‘Hold’. No analyst rates it a ‘Sell’. QIHU has a median Wall Street price target of $118.50 with a high target of $168.00.

In the past 52 weeks, shares of Beijing, China-based Internet provider have traded between a low of $60.25 and a high of $124.42 and are now up more than 6 points  at $75.97. Shares are down 19.79% year-over-year, and 15.34% year-to-date.

Shares of Level 3 Communications, Inc. (LVLT) are down almost 3% to $48.68 in midday trading Tuesday after the company was downgraded to ‘Neutral’ from ‘Outperform’ at Macquarie. The equity research firm says it downgraded the name based on balanced risk/reward. Price target remains $51.Currently there are 9 analysts that rate Level 3 shares a ‘Buy’ and 7 a ‘Hold’. No analyst rate it a ‘Sell’. The provider of a range of integrated communications services has a median Wall Street price target of $54.00 with a high target of $58.00.

On valuation measures, LVLT has a trailing PE of 43.90. T-12 price/sales ratio is 2.60, while EPS for the same period registers at $1.11. The Broomfield, Colorado-based firm has a market cap of $16.35B billion.

LVLT shares recently lost $1.36 to $48.69.

Netflix, Inc. (NFLX) coverage was resumed on Tuesday by Stifel with a ‘Hold’ from ‘Buy’ rating and a target price of $380. The equity research firm said it remains positive on the company’s longer-term international opportunity, but think 3Q’14 results were a sign that investors are still focused on domestic subscriber growth in the near term. As a result, firm views risk/reward as balanced at current prices.

Netflix shares are currently priced at 92.57x this year’s forecasted earnings compared to the industry’s 14.76x earnings multiple. Ticker has a PEG and forward P/E ratio of 3.73 and 72.73, respectively. Price/Sales for the same period is 4.13 while EPS is $3.76. Currently there are 15 analysts that rate NFLX a ‘Buy’, and 21 a ‘Hold’. 1 analyst rates it a ‘Sell’. NFLX has a median Wall Street price target of $404.50 with a high target of $600.00.

In the past 52 weeks, shares of Los Gatos, California-based Internet TV network have traded between a low of $299.50 and a high of $489.29 and are now at $348.15. Shares are up 2.48% year-over-year ; down 3.18% year-to-date.

Taser International (TASR) CEO and Co-Founder Rick Smith spoke with FOX Business Network’s Maria Bartiromo about the Grand Jury decision on Michael Brown and the need to outfit the police force with body cameras. Smith said, “I think the big problem is that I don’t know what happened, you don’t know what happened only a very small number of people know what really happened” and we need to “bring more transparency to police.” When asked whether his biggest customer for body cameras is law enforcement Smith said, “absolutely, 90 plus percentile of our body camera technology goes into law enforcement and we create this technically for exactly this reason to bring a level of transparency that avoids this sort of conflagration we’re seeing today.”

On the violence across the country post Grand Jury decision on Michael Brown:

“First of all I think the big problem is that I don’t know what happened, you don’t know what happened only a very small number of people know what really happened. So what’s happening around the country now is people are filling in the blanks with their own beliefs and many people believe that the police in this case did something terrible and many people believe that the officers were completely justified and because nobody knows – we don’t have the facts, we have a ton of conflict and controversy and as a result we see things like a city being burned down. What we think can make a big difference is if we can bring a more factual reasoned discussion by bring more transparency to police. If we can all see what officer Wilson saw that night I think we would all be able to form a more informed and rational opinion about what happened and avoid a lot of conflict that is currently rippling across this national and around the world.”

On whether his biggest customer is law enforcement with his body cameras:

“Absolutely, 90 plus percentile of our body camera technology goes into law enforcement and we create this technically for exactly this reason to bring a level of transparency that avoids this sort of conflagration we’re seeing today.” – Fox Business Network

Shares of Taser International (TASR) gained $0.95, or 4.87%, to $20.67 in midday trading after rising as high as $20.78 earlier in the session.

TASR currently prints a year-to-date return of around 24.18%, compared with an 14.79% gain in the S&P 500.

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