Stocks quoted in this article:
New annual lows are all too plentiful today on Wall Street, as stocks endure a bruising sell-off amid revived concerns about the euro zone. The NYSE reports no fewer than 129 equities at fresh 52-week lows, compared to only 14 securities at annual peaks. Similarly, the Nasdaq has tallied 126 annual lows, along with just four new highs. Among today's notable laggards are semiconductor stocks Aixtron AG (AIXG - 18.92) and Veeco Instruments Inc. (VECO - 31.02).
First up, AIXG is off about 3.9% this afternoon, after earlier falling to a new nadir of $18.65 -- its lowest price since September 2009. Today's decline simply continues a longer-term downtrend for AIXG, which has been hammered lower since June by its 10-day and 20-day moving averages. Year-to-date, the stock has shed more than 47% of its value.
Clearly, traders today aren't too impressed by a new "hold" rating for AIXG from ThinkEquity. From a broader perspective, quite a few analysts are already firmly planted in AIXG's bearish camp. Zacks reports that the stock has earned three "buy" or better ratings from brokerage firms, along with five "hold" or "sell" suggestions.
Meanwhile, VECO earned a matching "hold" rating from ThinkEquity today -- as well as a price-target cut to $47 from $51 at UBS. The shares have shed about 5.5% at last check, having recovered slightly from their early low of $30.80. VECO is now trading well below resistance at its descending 10-week moving average, which has highlighted the equity's decline in recent months. For the calendar year, the stock has racked up a deficit of 23.6%.
However, there are plenty of bears betting on VECO to fall even further. Short interest accounts for 31.3% of the equity's float, representing about 4.5 days' worth of pent-up buying pressure, at VECO's average daily volume. In other words, quite a few skeptics are hoping to cash in on additional losses from the struggling semi stock.