Schaeffer's Trading Floor Blog

Analyst Downgrades: Xilinx, Caterpillar, and Apple

Analysts downwardly revised their ratings on XLNX, CAT, and AAPL

by 10/18/2012 9:17 AM
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Analysts are weighing in today on semiconductor stock Xilinx, Inc. (NASDAQ:XLNX - 33.96), construction equipment manufacturer Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE:CAT - 86.63), and tech behemoth Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL - 644.61). Here's a quick roundup of today's bearish brokerage notes.

  • XLNX saw its price target lowered to $40 from $44 at Piper Jaffray today, after the company revealed quarterly earnings that fell short of last year's results on Wednesday, while also forecasting a 1% - 5% decline in current-quarter sales. Although the security sits on a year-over-year advance of nearly 15%, traders are still showing a preference for puts over calls, as evidenced by XLNX's 20-day International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) put/call volume ratio of 3.70. In other words, puts bought to open have nearly quadrupled calls during the past month.

  • As CAT prepares to report third-quarter earnings on Oct. 22, the stock received a price-target cut to $114 from $116 at Barclays ahead of the open, which could steepen its year-to-date loss of about 5%. Not surprisingly, puts are the options of choice among the near-term crowd. The equity's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) checks in at 1.30, confirming puts comfortably outstrip calls among options expiring within the next three months. This ratio ranks in the 81st annual percentile, indicating short-term traders have been more put-heavy toward CAT just 19% of the time during the last 12 months.

  • BMO slashed its price target for AAPL to $730 from $750 this morning, amid reports that the company lost its iPad copyright appeal against Samsung. However, with a gain of close to 62% during the past year, it stands to reason that sentiment toward the stock among the brokerage bunch is still overwhelmingly bullish. In fact, the security boasts 34 "strong buys" and four "buy" ratings, versus one "hold" and not a single "sell" recommendation. What's more, despite this morning's price-target cut, AAPL's average 12-month price target still sits at $778.74, reflecting expected upside of about 21% to Wednesday's closing price of $644.61.

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