Notable Upgrades: Monster Worldwide (MWW), VMware (VMW), Yelp, Inc. (YELP), Apple (AAPL), Qualcomm (QCOM)

Analysts at FBR Capital upgraded their Monster Worldwide, Inc. (MWW) rating to ‘Outperform’ from ‘Market Perform’ and set a price target of $6.80 from $4.50 in a research report issued to clients on Wednesday.

Monster Worldwide shares have dropped 22.94% over the past 52 weeks, while the S&P 500 index has surged 13.71% in the same period.

MWW rose 11.50% to $5.73 in mid-day trading.

In a report published Wednesday, Bernstein’s Mark Moerdler upgraded the rating on VMware Inc (VMW) to ‘Market Perform’ from ‘Underperform’, writing that he believes “the [company’s] FY15 downward guidance revision and multiple contraction limit the near term downside risk.”

VMware, Inc. gained $1.17 to $79.94 in mid-day trading today. Approximately 1.2M shares have already changed hands, compared to the stock’s average daily volume of 1.92M shares.

On valuation-measures, shares of VMware, Inc. have a trailing-12 and forward P/E of 39.19 and 17.35, respectively. P/E to growth ratio is 1.20, while t-12 profit margin is 14.68%. EPS registers at $2.04. The company has a market cap of $34.32B and a median Wall Street price target of $95.00 with a high target of $130.00.

VMW currently prints a one year loss of 15.50%, and a year-to-date loss of 4.54%.

Yelp, Inc. (YELP) was raised to ‘Buy’ from ‘Hold’ with a $50 price target, versus a current price of $45.76, at Brean Capital on Wednesday. The firm said the company’s $134 million acquisition of Eat24 will allow deeper integration on the Web.

Yelp shares recently gained $1.04 to $45.70. In the past 52 weeks, shares of San Francisco, California-based online local guide operator have traded between a low of $42.10 and a high of $101.75. Shares are down 51% year-over-year, and 18.40% year-to-date.

Shares of Apple (AAPL) are up $2.33, or 1.90%, at $124.35, after JP Morgan’s Rod Hall upped his price target on the stock by five points to $145 based on expectations for the iWatch, which is due out in April.

Hall writes that the smart watch, based on his estimates, can increase FY2015 profit (ending in Sept.) by 2.4%, and “More impressively, a continuation of that non- linear adoption path increases our FY’16 EPS by a more impressive 10.4%.”

Apple Inc. shares are currently priced at 16.79x this year’s forecasted earnings compared to the industry’s 27.70x earnings multiple. Ticker has a PEG and forward P/E ratio of 1.12 and 13.61, respectively. Price/Sales for the same period is 3.56 while EPS is 7.39. Currently there are 32 analysts that rate AAPL a ‘Buy’, 10 rate it a ‘Hold’. 2 analysts rates it a ‘Sell’. AAPL has a median Wall Street price target of $133.00 with a high target of $165.00.

As for passive income investors, the iPhone maker pays shareholders $1.88 per share annually in dividends, yielding 1.60%.

In the past 52 weeks, shares of Cupertino, California-based tech giant have traded between a low of $73.05 and a high of $124.43. Shares are up 64.54% year-over-year, and 11% year-to-date.

Shares of Qualcomm Incorporated (QCOM) are up 0.34% to $70.50 in midday trading on Wednesday after Rosenblatt initiated the name with a ‘Buy’ rating and $88 price target. The firm is positive on shares now that the NDRC’s 14-month long investigation into alleged anti-competitive practices is behind the chip maker and believes the settlement will improve the royalty fee collection rate among rogue OEMs.

QCOM currently prints a one year loss of about 7%, and a year-to-date loss of around 5%.

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