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Analysts are weighing in today on tech behemoth Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL - 533.25), telecom issue Vodafone Group Plc (ADR) (NASDAQ:VOD - 25.88), and electronics retailer Best Buy Co., Inc. (NYSE:BBY - 11.99). Here's a quick roundup of today's bearish brokerage notes.
- Off about 1% in pre-market trading, AAPL saw its price target slashed to $800 from $900 at Jefferies today -- a move that could chip away at the stock's year-to-date advance of nearly 32%. Nevertheless, the vast majority of analysts covering the equity harbor high expectations for AAPL. The security boasts 32 "strong buys" and four "buy" endorsements, versus two "holds," and not a single "sell" suggestion. Meanwhile, the stock's average 12-month price target of $757.77 represents a 42% premium to Friday's closing price of $533.25.
- VOD -- which has shed close to 8% so far this year -- was slapped with a price-target cut to 205 pounds from 220 pounds at HSBC ahead of the open. Meanwhile, 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 18.32 for VOD, indicating traders have bought to open more than 18 calls for every put during the past two weeks. This ratio is just four percentage points shy of a yearly peak, meaning speculators have been snapping up calls over puts at a near annual-high clip.
- Finally, Bank of America-Merrill Lynch resumed coverage of BBY with an "underperform" recommendation today. The equity has declined more than 57% during the last 12 months, but that hasn't deterred short-term bulls. The stock's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) checks in at 0.61, with calls almost doubling puts among the front three-months' series of options. This ratio ranks in the 18th percentile of its annual range, signaling near-term traders have been more call-heavy toward the stock less than one-fifth of the time during the past year.