Schaeffer's Trading Floor Blog

Analyst Downgrades: STEC, Fossil, and WellPoint

Analysts downwardly revised their ratings on STEC, FOSL, and WLP

by 11/7/2012 9:15 AM
Stocks quoted in this article:

Analysts are weighing in today on technology stock STEC, Inc. (NASDAQ:STEC - 5.63), accessories designer Fossil, Inc. (NASDAQ:FOSL - 84.24), and health benefits company WellPoint, Inc. (NYSE:WLP - 61.20). Here's a quick roundup of today's bearish brokerage notes.

  • Down more than 15% in pre-market trading, STEC was downgraded to "neutral" from "buy" at Lazard today and cut to "hold" from "buy " at Craig-Hallum, after issuing fourth-quarter guidance that fell short of analysts' expectations. The equity also received a price-target cut to $4 from $5 at Wedbush, all of which could steepen STEC's year-over-year loss of nearly 52%. Elsewhere, although short interest on the security declined by about 3% during the last two reporting periods, these pessimistic bets still account for a lofty 16% of the stock's float. It would take more than 13 days to cover these shorted shares, at STEC's average pace of trading.

  • FOSL saw its price target lowered to $84 from $90 at FBR this morning, thanks weaker-than-expected third-quarter revenue results. On the other hand, the stock was also lifted to a "buy" rating from "above average" at Caris & Co. The security has surrendered more than 11% during the past year, but plenty of traders remain optimistic toward FOSL. The equity's 50-day International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) call/put volume ratio sits at 1.99, confirming calls bought to open have nearly doubled puts during the past few months. This ratio is just six percentage points shy of a yearly peak, meaning speculators have been snapping up calls over puts at a near annual-high clip.

  • Also off about 3% ahead of the open is WLP, which was cut to "underperform" from "buy" at Bank of America-Merrill Lynch today, despite revealing strong quarterly earnings results. Instead, investors are focusing on the company's unchanged full-year outlook, which Goldman Sachs said hints at a weak fourth quarter. The stock is down about 11% from the year-ago period, yet near-term calls nearly double puts, as evidenced by WLP's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 0.61. This ratio resides in the 33rd annual percentile, denoting a stronger-than-usual preference for short-term calls over puts lately.

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