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Analysts are weighing in today on oil & gas concern Halliburton Company (NYSE:HAL - 36.41), fine accessories designer Coach, Inc. (NYSE:COH - 59.99), and financial services company Citigroup Inc. (NYSE:C - 34.18). Here's a quick roundup of today's bearish brokerage notes.
- Down about 1.7% in pre-market trading, HAL was downgraded to "underperform" from "outperform" at CLSA this morning, which could chip away at the equity's year-to-date advance of roughly 6%. Near-term options players also seem wary of the stock, as reflected by HAL's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 1.16 -- confirming that puts outpace calls among options scheduled to expire over the next three months. In fact, this ratio is just five percentage points shy of a bearish peak, signaling that short-term traders have rarely been more put-heavy toward the security during the past year.
- Although the stock has added close to 6% over the past year, COH was lowered to "neutral" from "outperform" by Credit Suisse ahead of the opening bell. Even so, Thomson Reuters still shows an average 12-month price target of $67.31 for the security, representing expected upside of more than 12% from Wednesday's closing price of $59.99. Meanwhile, bearish speculation on the equity has been increasing lately, as short interest jumped by nearly 24% during the last two reporting periods. These shorted shares now make up a respectable 6% of COH's available float.
- Finally, C was cut to "neutral" from "buy" at UBS today, despite the security's year-over-year climb of about 34%. The equity has also outpaced the broader S&P 500 Index (SPX) by north of 21 percentage points during the past two months. In the options pits, traders have been showing a preference for calls over puts lately. Data from the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) shows a 20-day call/put volume ratio of 1.50, conveying that speculators have bought to open 150 calls for every 100 puts during the past month.
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