Stocks quoted in this article:
Analysts are weighing in today on tech behemoth Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL - 504.77), automaker Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F - 14.17), and biotechnology company E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Co (NYSE:DD - 47.82). Here's a quick roundup of today's bearish brokerage notes.
- As AAPL prepares to report fiscal first-quarter earnings after the close, the stock was slapped with yet another price-target cut, to $675 from $725 at FBR. The security has shed more than 5% in 2013 -- while also trailing the broader S&P 500 Index (SPX) by almost 24 percentage points during the past three months -- yet most of the covering analysts still hold AAPL in high regard. The stock currently boasts 32 "strong buys" and four "buy" recommendations, versus three "holds," and not a single "sell" suggestion.
- F was downgraded to "hold" from "buy" at Deutsche Bank ahead of the opening bell -- a move that could chip away at the stock's year-to-date advance of more than 9%. Meanwhile, call activity has been running rampant on the equity. F's 10-day International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) call/put volume ratio sits at 3.67, indicating calls bought to open have more than tripled puts during the past two weeks. This ratio ranks higher than 57% of similar annual readings, reflecting a stronger-than-usual preference for calls over puts.
- Last but not least, DD saw its price target trimmed to $51 from $52 at UBS today, despite reporting better-than-expected quarterly earnings on Tuesday. The equity has gained more than 6% so far this year, yet short-term options players remain bearishly biased toward DD. The stock's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) checks in at 1.17, with puts outpacing calls among options scheduled to expire in the next three months. This ratio is docked in the 62nd percentile of its annual range, meaning near-term speculators are more put-heavy than usual right now.