Schaeffer's Trading Floor Blog

Analyst Downgrades: Diamond Foods, DryShips, and AK Steel

nalysts downwardly revised their ratings on DMND, DRYS, and AKS

by 11/19/2012 9:29 AM
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Analysts are weighing in today on packaged nuts company Diamond Foods, Inc. (NASDAQ:DMND - 15.13), marine transport outfit DryShips Inc. (NASDAQ:DRYS 1.70), and industrial metals concern AK Steel Holding Corporation (NYSE:AKS - 3.57). Here's a quick roundup of today's bearish brokerage notes.

  • DMND is off nearly 8% in pre-market action, continuing to feel pressure from its recently restated financial results for 2010 and 2011, which erased $56.5 million in profit. Analysts at Jefferies are weighing on the stock this morning, cutting it to "underperform" from "hold," and slashing its price target by $17 to $10. Technically speaking, DMND has been a dud recently, lagging the broader S&P 500 Index (SPX) by more than 20 percentage points over the past two months, and burning off more than 53% year-to-date. Despite a 2.5% pullback in short interest during the most recent reporting period, there is still plenty of negativity levied against the shares. Short interest now makes up a whopping 38.5% of the equity's float. In fact, at DMND's average pace of trading, it would take more than two months for all these bearish bets to unwind.

  • Moving on DRYS was slapped with a pair of downbeat adjustments today, as Wells Fargo downgraded the stock to "market perform," while Deutsche Bank lowered its price target to $1.50 from $2.50. Since the beginning of the year, the shares have dipped 15%. Meanwhile, DRYS has trailed the SPX by 28 percentage points throughout the past 40 sessions, on a relative-strength basis. But perhaps the shipping issue is ready for a turnaround, as the stock is pointed higher ahead of the opening bell. What's more, the security's Relative Strength Index (RSI) checks in at a slim 22 -- which resides in oversold territory.

  • AKS was slapped with a negative note at Jefferies, with the brokerage firm cutting its price target to $3.50 from $5. The shares are exploring nine-year lows, after the iron and steel company last week priced a stock offering at $4 per share a 0.5% discount to the Street price at the time. The steel concern is no stranger to skepticism, however, with nine of the 12 analysts following the stock offering up "hold" or worse suggestions. In the same vein, short interest accounts for more than 30% of AKS' total available float, and would take almost a week to repurchase, at the equity's average pace of trading.

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