Stocks quoted in this article:
Analysts are weighing in today on iPad parent Apple Inc. (AAPL - 485.83), scandal-stricken Diamond Foods, Inc. (DMND - 23.50), battery specialist A123 Systems, Inc. (AONE - 2.18), interactive communications concern Acme Packet, Inc. (APKT - 32.69), and Internet issue TripAdvisor, Inc. (TRIP - 28.58). Here's a quick roundup of today's upgrades and downgrades of note.
- First up, AAPL attracted a price-target hike to $665 from $650 at Canaccord Genuity, with the brokerage firm citing evidence of robust iPhone 4S sales. This upwardly revised target represents a premium of 39.5% to Wednesday's close -- and it's also well north of the stock's average 12-month price target of $565.13, as calculated by Thomson Reuters. AAPL shares are up 1.9% at last look, adding to their year-to-date rally of 17.7%. Earlier, the stock touched a new record high of $487.20.
- Elsewhere, DMND was downgraded to "neutral" from "buy" at SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, as the company's accounting scandal deepens. Last night, DMND said it would restate its results for fiscal 2010 and 2011, and announced the ouster of CEO Michael Mendes and Chief Financial Officer Steven Neil. The drastic management changes were made after DMND confirmed that payments to walnut growers had been improperly accounted for. The stock has plummeted 35.9% so far today, after earlier hitting a fresh multi-year low of $21.44.
- Wunderlich downgraded AONE to "sell" from "hold," triggering an 11.7% pullback in the shares this morning. The equity is now on pace to snap a four-day winning streak atop its 10-day and 20-day moving averages, but today's decline simply continues a longer-term slump for AONE. Over the past 52 weeks, the shares have shed no less than 74.6% of their value.
- APKT was also hit with a negative note, as Northland Securities cut its rating to "market perform" from "outperform." The stock is off 1.8% as a result, pulling back beneath familiar resistance at its 20-week moving average. This trendline hasn't been bested on a weekly closing basis since early June 2011. On the other hand, APKT is still on pace to collect a second consecutive Friday finish atop its 10-week trendline -- a technical feat not accomplished since last May.
- Finally, Wall Street newcomer TRIP has spiraled to a loss of 16.8% on the heels of its fourth-quarter earnings report. The company's profit of 16 cents per share fell short of the average analyst estimate for 24 cents per share, and this bottom-line miss has prompted a few negative notes. Susquehanna downgraded the stock to "neutral" from "positive," while Benchmark lowered its rating to "hold" from "buy." J.P. Morgan also piled on, dropping its price target to $29 from $31. Now, TRIP is poised to wrap up the session on the south side of its 10-day and 20-day moving averages for the first time since Jan. 5.