Stocks quoted in this article:
Markets are mixed in morning action, as Wall Street contemplates a drop in November housing starts and continuing budget talks in Washington. Here's a quick update on today's latest brokerage notes, including adjustments for Chinese Internet search engine Baidu.com, Inc. (ADR) (NASDAQ:BIDU - 100.15), headphones specialist Skullcandy Inc (NASDAQ:SKUL - 8.17), and coffee and doughnuts maker Dunkin Brands Group Inc (NASDAQ:DNKN - 33.12).
- BIDU was started at "sell" by Maxim Group this morning, but was able to shrug aside this note to move higher. However, today's uptick could be short lived, as the stock's 50-day moving average -- which has acted as a technical ceiling since late August -- looms above. Plus, BIDU has shed almost 14% in 2012, and has lagged the broader S&P 500 Index (SPX) by more than 13 percentage points over the past two months. Considering this overall downtrend, there could be additional downgrades ahead, as BIDU currently tallies 10 "strong buys," one "buy," four tepid "holds," and not a single "sell" suggestion.
- SKUL is another name that hasn't fared too well on the charts, slipping nearly 35% year-to-date, and trailing the SPX by almost 37 percentage points during the past 60 sessions. And this technical predicament could worsen, should other analysts take a cue from Roth Capital. Specifically, the firm cut its price target by $3 to $12, which arrives below the majority view. The average 12-month price target sits at $15.88, and is almost double SKUL's current trading level. Furthermore, the rest of the brokerage bunch is overwhelmingly bullish toward this underperformer, as 80% maintain a "buy" or better rating.
- Finally … DNKN was upgraded to "buy" from "hold" at Miller Tabak earlier today, helping the stock to a 1% gain. Today's rally added to the shares' notable 2012 return of 32%, and even higher prices could be on tap, should skeptics continue to hit the exits. Short interest on the equity dropped nearly 9.5% over the past month, but still makes up 9.7% of DNKN's available float. In fact, at the security's average pace of trading, it would take more than seven days for all of these pessimistic positions to unwind.