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Analysts are weighing in today on semiconductor concern Micron Technology, Inc. (NASDAQ:MU), microcontroller supplier Atmel Corporation (NASDAQ:ATML), and health foods grocer Whole Foods Market, Inc. (NASDAQ:WFM). Here's a quick roundup of today's bearish brokerage notes.
- Goldman Sachs initiated a "neutral" rating for MU this morning. Technically speaking, MU has tacked on a whopping 109% year-to-date to trade at $13.24, and has outperformed the broader S&P 500 Index (SPX) by 28 percentage points during the past three months. In this respect, MU's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) comes in at 0.28, with calls nearly quadrupling puts among options with a shelf-life of three months or less. This ratio ranks just 3 percentage points from an annual low, conveying Micron Technology, Inc.'s short-term speculators have rarely been more call-heavy over the last year.
- After reporting earnings that arrived on par with analysts' expectations last night, ATML saw its rating lowered to "neutral" from "positive" at Susquehanna. (Nomura, on the other hand, raised ATML's price target.) On the charts, ATML has grown more than 20% since the beginning of the year to its current trading level of $7.90. Despite its gains, Atmel Corporation sports a SOIR of 2.45, which ranks higher than 99% of other such readings taken throughout the year. This means that put open interest on options expiring in three months or less is at a near annual-high, outnumbering call open interest by almost 5-to-2.
- After reporting a slowdown in same-store sales last quarter, WFM was hit with a price-target cut to $53 from $54 at Cantor Fitzgerald. (Deutsche Bank and Guggenheim, meanwhile, raised their price targets in pre-market.) Since the start of 2013, WFM has advanced roughly 22% to its current perch at $55.58. What's more, the stock has outperformed the broader SPX by 15.5 percentage points during the past three months. With that being said, speculators at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) have bought to open 143 calls for every 100 puts within the last 10 weeks. The resultant 50-day call/put volume ratio of 1.43 ranks in the 82nd percentile of its annual range, conveying Whole Foods Market, Inc. calls are being picked up over puts at a faster-than-usual pace.