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Analysts are weighing in today on technology guru Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), social networking site Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB), and grocery chain The Fresh Market Inc (NASDAQ:TFM). Here's a quick roundup of today's bearish brokerage notes.
- AAPL has had a slow start to the new year, shedding 5.1% to trade at $533.99. As such, Barclays downgraded the stock to "equal weight" from "overweight" this morning. Furthermore, option traders have upped the bearish ante on Apple Inc. in recent sessions. In fact, the equity's 10-day International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) put/call volume ratio of 0.73 ranks 3 percentage points from a 12-month peak, indicating speculators have bought to open puts, relative to calls, at a near-annual-high rate during the past two weeks.
- After FB announced it would be buying messaging platform WhatsApp, Evercore downgraded its rating on the stock to "equal weight" from "overweight," and slashed its price target by $10 to $60. (Meanwhile, FBN upped its price target.) Over the past month alone, Facebook Inc has surged almost 21% to perch at $68.06, so it comes as no surprise that other brokerage firms are bullish on the equity. In fact, 32 of the 33 covering analysts have deemed FB worthy of a "buy" or better rating. And, while the average 12-month price target of $70.08 represents a slim premium to the shares' current price, there is still room for more price-target hikes in the near term, which could create technical tailwinds.
- TFM -- down more than 18% year-to-date to trade at $32.72 -- saw its rating drop to "hold" from "buy" at Deutsche Bank this morning. In addition, the brokerage firm cut its price target on the shares to $34 from $48. Elsewhere, The Fresh Market Inc has racked up a heavy amount of short interest, as these bearish bets currently account for 15.2% of the stock's available float. It would take more than a week to cover the shorted shares, at TFM's average pace of trading.