Stocks quoted in this article:
Analysts are weighing in today on computer software behemoth Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT - 27.36), semiconductor stock Texas Instruments Incorporated (NASDAQ:TXN - 29.78), and data storage provider NetApp Inc. (NASDAQ:NTAP - 31.36). Here's a quick roundup of today's bearish brokerage notes.
- MSFT received a price-target cut to $31 from $34 at Jefferies this morning, a move that could chip away at the equity's year-over-year advance of about 7%. Nevertheless, there is still plenty of optimism among the brokerage bunch, as the stock boasts 16 "strong buys" and four "buy" endorsements, compared to eight lukewarm "holds" and not a single "sell" suggestion. What's more, Thomson Reuters shows an average 12-month price target of $35.44 for MSFT, reflecting expected upside of about 30% to Wednesday's closing price of $27.36.
- TXN -- which hovers just 2% north of breakeven for the year -- was started with a "reduce" rating at SunTrust Robinson Humphrey today. The security has outpaced the broader S&P 500 Index (SPX) by approximately 11 percentage points over the past 40 sessions, yet bearish speculation on TXN has been gaining ground lately. In fact, short interest on the stock jumped by more than 23% during the most recent reporting period. Still, the equity's pessimistic camp is far from crowded, as these shorted shares account for just over 2% of TXN's float.
- Last but not least, CLSA started coverage of NTAP with an "underperform" recommendation ahead of the opening bell. However, despite a 52-week decline of about 15%, the equity's 50-day International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) call/put volume ratio stands at 2.01, confirming calls bought to open have doubled puts during the past few months. This ratio arrives in the bullishly skewed 72nd annual percentile, reflecting a stronger-than-usual preference for calls over puts lately.