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Analysts are weighing in today on chemical concern Mosaic Co (NYSE:MOS - 55.76), biopharmaceutical company Amarin Corporation plc (ADR) (NASDAQ:AMRN - 12.35), and gas & oil issue Halliburton Company (NYSE:HAL - 34.07). Here's a quick roundup of today's bearish brokerage notes.
- MOS was downgraded to "neutral" from "buy" at Lazard Capital today, after the company revealed weaker-than-expected quarterly earnings yesterday. The news also triggered price-target cuts at RBC and Canaccord Genuity. As the stock clings to a year-over-year advance of roughly 14%, calls bought to open have more than doubled puts during the past few months, according to the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX). The 50-day call/put volume ratio of 2.51 ranks in the 85th annual percentile, meaning traders have been buying calls over puts at a faster-than-usual pace.
- Although AMRN has climbed nearly 65% so far this year, the equity was cut to "neutral" from "outperform" at Wedbush ahead of the opening bell. Skeptics seem to be unfazed by this technical strength, as well, considering short interest on the stock rose by about 3% during the most recent reporting period. In fact, these bearish bets now represent a hefty 16% of the equity's available float. It would take more than three days to buy back these shorted shares, at AMRN's average daily trading volume.
- As HAL prepares to report third-quarter earnings later this month, the security saw its price target lowered to $44 from $47 at Jefferies in pre-market activity. Although the security boasts a 52-week gain of close to 12%, near-term options players seem to be harboring low expectations for HAL. The equity's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) checks in at 1.16, confirming that puts outstrip calls among the front three-months' series of options. This ratio is just five percentage points shy of a bearish peak, signaling that short-term traders have rarely been more put-heavy toward the stock during the past year.
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