Stocks quoted in this article:
Analysts are weighing in today on gaming issue Las Vegas Sands Corp. (NYSE:LVS - 37.54), biotech firm Dendreon Corporation (NASDAQ:DNDN - 6.18), and drug maker Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated (NASDAQ:VRTX - 49.96). Here's a quick roundup of today's bearish brokerage notes.
- On the heels of posting quarterly earnings that missed Wall Street's projections late last week, LVS was downgraded to "hold" from "buy" at Argus this morning. However, despite the stock sitting on a year-over-year decline of more than 20%, calls are still the options of choice, as evidenced by the stock's 20-day International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) call/put volume ratio of 1.73. In other words, calls bought to open have nearly doubled puts during the past month.
- Meanwhile, DNDN was cut to "hold" from "buy" at Deutsche Bank and lowered to "neutral" from "overweight" by J.P. Morgan after reporting a wider-than-expected second-quarter loss post-close yesterday. Adding insult to injury, the company also announced that it will be cutting more than 600 jobs as a result, which represents around 41% of its staff. Not surprisingly, bearish speculation on the DNDN has been on the rise, as short interest jumped by more than 11% during the past month. These pessimistic bets now represent a hefty 26% of the stock's available float. Ahead of the bell, the security is down nearly 17 percentage points in pre-market trading.
- Finally, VRTX -- which also fell short of analysts' expectations in the earnings arena after Monday's close -- was slapped with a downgrade to "neutral" from "overweight" at Piper Jaffray. Currently, the stock boasts a year-to-date gain of more than 50%, which has likely attracted a slew of bullish options players. In fact, the 10-day ISE/CBOE/PHLX call/put volume ratio for the equity stands at 2.76, indicating that traders have bought to open nearly three calls for every put during the past two weeks. This ratio arrives in the 79th annual percentile, reflecting a healthier-than-usual appetite for calls over puts.