Stocks quoted in this article:
U.S. stocks are slightly lower this afternoon, as Wall Street weighs a smaller-than-expected rise in monthly payrolls. Among the equities in focus include videogame maker Activision Blizzard, Inc. (NASDAQ:ATVI), commodities concern Yamana Gold Inc. (USA) (NYSE:AUY), and potash issue Mosaic Co (NYSE:MOS), which have all attracted the attention of analysts.
- ATVI is 2.5% lower at $17.74, despite upping its full-year guidance. In addition, the firm is shrugging off a pair of price-target hikes, with Brean Capital upping its target by $1 to $20, and UBS lifting its target to $21 from $17. In the options pits, traders were optimistic heading into last night's report. The stock's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 0.21 indicates that near-term calls outnumber puts by a margin of nearly 5-to-1. What's more, this ratio sits just 4 percentage points from a 12-month low, suggesting Activision Blizzard, Inc.'s (NASDAQ:ATVI) short-term options crowd is more call-centered than usual.
- Moving on, AUY is up 0.3% at $9.70, even after a slew of post-earnings price-target cuts. No fewer than five brokerage firms have weighed in on Yamana Gold Inc. (USA) (NYSE:AUY) -- among them Credit Suisse, which trimmed its target by $2 to $13, and Cowen, which lowered its target to $12.86 from $13.33. While AUY has underperformed the S&P 500 Index (SPX) by more than 25 percentage points during the past three months, traders have bought to open more than nine AUY calls for every put during the past two weeks. The resulting 10-day call/put volume ratio on the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) of 9.24 stands higher than 91% of all other readings of the past year, pointing to a healthier-than-usual appetite for bullish bets of late.
- Finally, UBS downgraded MOS to "neutral" from "buy" this morning, sending the shares 2.8% lower to $40.69. MOS has been a popular target for bearish brokerage notes this week, due to a sector-wide slump among fertilizer stocks. However, there could be more negativity on the horizon, as 11 out of 18 analysts maintain "buy" or better ratings, with not a single "sell" in sight. Likewise, the consensus 12-month price target of $56.38 represents expected upside of 38.6% to Mosaic Co's (NYSE:MOS) current price.