Schaeffer's Trading Floor Blog

Analyst Downgrades: McDonald's, Aeropostale, and Illumina

Analysts downwardly revised their ratings on MCD, ARO, and ILMN

by 11/26/2012 9:04 AM
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Analysts are weighing in today on fast food chain McDonald's Corporation (NYSE:MCD - 87.05), apparel retailer Aeropostale, Inc. (NYSE:ARO - 14.45), and biotech company Illumina, Inc. (NASDAQ:ILMN - 52.93). Here's a quick roundup of today's bearish brokerage notes.

  • MCD -- which has shed more than 13% so far this year -- was downgraded to "neutral" from "buy" at Lazard Capital this morning. Meanwhile, call buying has been running rampant on the stock lately. Data from the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) shows a 10-day call/put volume ratio of 1.98 for MCD, confirming calls bought to open have nearly doubled puts during the past two weeks. This ratio arrives in the 69th annual percentile, indicating traders have been scooping up calls over puts at an accelerated clip.

  • Down more than 3% in pre-market trading, ARO was lowered to "neutral" from "buy" at Janney Capital today. The security is off more than 5% year-to-date, yet that hasn't fazed short-term bulls. Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) for ARO checks in at 0.34, with calls nearly tripling puts among the front three-months' series of options. This ratio resides in the 37th percentile of its annual range, meaning near-term options players have been showing a stronger-than-usual appetite for bullish options over bearish lately.

  • Despite a year-over-year gain of nearly 94%, ILMN was cut to "neutral" from "outperform" at Baird ahead of the opening bell, amid reports of a new ruling in the firm's patent lawsuit against Complete Genomics, Inc. The security has also outperformed the broader S&P 500 Index (SPX) by more than 27 percentage points during the past three months, yet there is plenty of bearish speculation surrounding ILMN. Short interest on the equity rose by about 6% during the past month, and now represents a hefty 24% of the stock's float -- or the equivalent of 17 days' worth of pent-up buying demand, at ILMN's average pace of trading.

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