Schaeffer's Trading Floor Blog
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Analysts are weighing in today on department store J.C. Penney Company, Inc. (NYSE:JCP), retail chain Target Corporation (NYSE:TGT), and cruise operator Carnival Corporation (NYSE:CCL). Here's a quick roundup of today's bearish brokerage notes.

  • JCP's steep downward trajectory in recent sessions led to more bearish brokerage notes this morning. Specifically, Barclays slashed its price target for JCP to $10 from $20, and Imperial Capital trimmed its target to $5 from $8, after the stock bottomed at a 31-year low of $8.59 yesterday afternoon. As such, J.C. Penney Company, Inc. now sports a year-over-year loss of more than 64%, and was last seen perched at $8.81. Elsewhere, short interest grew 14.7% over the last two reporting periods, and now accounts for 81.6% of the stock's available float. This is equivalent to 71.7 million shares sold short. Meanwhile, hedge fund firm Perry Corp more than halved its stake in JCP to 3.28%, according to a recent SEC filing.

  • Since hitting a record peak of $73.50 on July 24, TGT has fallen nearly 13% to trade at $63.98. In response, Deutsche Bank and Barclays sliced their respective price targets to $64 from $69, and to $70 from $75 in pre-market action. Still, in the options pits, traders at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) have bought to open 145 TGT calls for every 100 puts during the last two weeks. The resulting 10-day call/put volume ratio of 1.45 ranks higher than 90% of other such readings taken throughout the past year, indicating Target Corporation calls are being picked up over puts at a near annual-high rate. Considering TGT's negative price action in recent months, an unwinding of these bullish bets could cause the stock to fall further south.

  • HSBC became the latest firm to downwardly adjust its position on CCL, since the cruise operator reported a 30% profit decline for the fiscal third quarter. Specifically, the brokerage firm lowered its price target to $33 from $37.50 on the stock, which has plummeted 12.7% since the close on Sept. 23, and now sits at $32.64. Still, CCL sports a Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 0.66, with calls outnumbering puts by a margin of 3-to-2 among options expiring within three months. This ratio ranks in the 37th percentile of its annual range, meaning short-term traders are more call-heavy than usual toward Carnival Corporation right now. This accumulation of overhead call open interest could end up translating into options-related resistance in the near term, as these bullish positions unfold.

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