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Analysts are weighing in today on semiconductor stock Applied Materials, Inc. (AMAT - 10.95), fast-food giant McDonald's Corporation (MCD - 90.88), and energy issue Patriot Coal Corporation (PCX - 4.83). Here's a quick roundup of today's bearish brokerage notes.
- Needham Research cut its opinion of AMAT to "hold" from "buy," sending the stock fractionally lower ahead of the open. The shares are clinging to a slim gain of 2.2% for 2012, and they're down 24.6% over the past 52 weeks. However, AMAT is trading just north of familiar support in the $10-$10.50 region, which has provided a floor for the stock since April 2009.
- Dow component MCD was downgraded to "neutral" from "outperform" at Cowen, which joined a minority of similarly skeptical analysts. The shares have racked up 16 "buy" or better endorsements from brokerage firms, compared to just eight "holds" and zero "sells." However, with MCD down 9.4% year-to-date -- and with the stock stuck beneath former support at its 10-week, 20-week, and 50-week moving averages -- additional downgrades could be on the horizon.
- PCX was hit with a price-target cut to $6 from $7 at Citigroup, after the company last night downwardly revised its met coal sales forecast for 2012. The stock is already down nearly 43% so far in 2012, and PCX has shed another 2.7% ahead of the open. As a result, the shares are on track to open the session at a fresh three-year low of $4.70.