Today's Top Analyst Stock Picks: Upcoming M&A, Promising Clinical Trials and More

Includes: GILD, MU, ORCC
by: Simon Monger

Online Resources Corporation (NASDAQ:ORCC), Pharmasset Inc. (VRUS) and Micron Technology Inc. (NASDAQ:MU) are three top analyst stock picks made during today’s session.

Online Resources Will Eventually Sell Itself

Online Resources Corporation (ORCC), a provider of outsources web and phone-based financial technologies, will eventually sell itself, according to DA Davidson. After the board’s recent decision to forgo a near-term sale, the analyst believes that the ultimate outcome will be a sale of the company in one or two years.

Earlier this month, the analyst noted that, despite lower-than-expected fourth quarter earnings and ended discussions with potential acquirers, it believes that the outsourced web and phone-based financial technology company is in the early innings of a rebound that will enable it to sell itself in the future, and reiterated its Buy rating on the stock.

Pharmasset’s Clinical Trials Could Unlock Value

Parmasset Inc. (VRUS), a clinical-stage pharmaceutical company focused on viral infections, could see significant value come from its PSI-7977 clinical trials, according to Noble Financial. After initiating its Phase IIB clinical study, the firm said the RNA chain terminating mechanism of action and recent positive results indicate effective elimination of virus in all genotypes.

Given this potential to significant increase the compound’s value, the analyst rated the stock a Buy with an $80 per share price target, which represents a 3.7% premium to the current market price, after today’s 8.6% move higher. The biopharmaceutical company will host an investor meeting to discuss the progress on April 2nd at 2:00 p.m.

Micron Should Benefit from DRAM Constraint

Micron Technology Inc. (MU), a semiconductor manufacturer focused on producing DRAM, was favorable mentioned by Sterne Agee ahead of the opening bell. After Japan’s earthquake, the analyst believes that supply constraints are increasing in the DRAM market, which should lead to higher spot pricing, despite the firm guiding flat of pricing for the May quarter.

Other analysts also came out bullish on the semiconductor manufacturer after its latest earnings announcement. Stifel Nicolaus noted that the stock was one of its best ideas with a $17 per share price target, while Auriga believes that the risk/reward is skewed to the upside and maintained its Buy rating and $14 per share price target – all significant premiums to the current $11 per share price.

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.