Stocks quoted in this article:
Analysts are weighing in today on semiconductor concern NVIDIA Corporation (NASDAQ:NVDA), software provider Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MFST), and oil and gas issue Halliburton Company (NYSE:HAL). Here's a quick roundup of today's bearish brokerage notes.
- NVDA has climbed 9.4% since reporting earnings after the close on Nov. 7, and reached an annual high of $16.32 last Thursday. However, Morgan Stanley said NVDA "seems to be pricing in substantial earnings improvement that is still uncertain," and downgraded the equity to "underweight" from "equal weight." Elsewhere, the majority of the brokerage bunch already maintains skeptical positions on NVIDIA Corporation, with 16 of the 22 covering analysts slapping the stock with a "hold" or worse rating. Likewise, the average 12-month price target of $15.31 sits at a discount to NVDA's current price of $15.90.
- BofA-Merrill Lynch lowered MSFT's rating to "underperform" from "neutral," after rumors hit the Street that rival Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) will acquire Israeli-based PrimeSense, which originally powered MSFT's Xbox Kinect Sensor. On the technical front, Microsoft Corporation has tacked on 39.8% year-to-date to trade at $37.23. Still, nearly 63% of covering analysts maintain a tepid "hold" rating toward the stock. Should MSFT continue its upward trajectory, the door is wide open for a round of upgrades, which could help fuel the stock's fire.
- Disregarding HAL's impressive year-over-year gain of 84.2%, Global Hunter downgraded the equity to "neutral" from "buy" this morning. Meanwhile, in the options pits, activity is bullishly skewed toward Halliburton Company. The stock's International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) 10-day call/put volume ratio of 2.27 ranks higher than 89% of other such readings taken over the past year, meaning HAL calls have been bought to open over puts at a much faster-than-usual pace during the last two weeks. At last check, the equity was trading at $56.10.