Analyst Update: American Eagle Outfitters, American Express Company, and Ford Motor Company

Analysts adjusted their ratings on AEO, AXP, and F

by Alex Eppstein

Published on Oct 21, 2014 at 1:27 PM
Updated on Apr 20, 2015 at 5:32 PM

Analysts are weighing in today on apparel retailer American Eagle Outfitters (NYSE:AEO), credit card giant American Express Company (NYSE:AXP), and Detroit darling Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F). Here's a quick look at today's brokerage notes on AEO, AXP, and F.

  • AEO is up 2% to trade at $13.82, following a "market outperform" initiation and new $17 price target -- territory not explored in more than a year -- at BlueFin Research. This positive brokerage attention is slightly surprising, given the shares' nearly 4% year-to-date deficit and recent struggles to surmount the $15 level. Taking a step back, American Eagle Outfitters has attracted significant interest from short sellers, as 15% of the stock's float is sold short. At AEO's average daily trading volume, it would take about a week to buy back all of these bearish bets.

  • AXP has tacked on 1.6% to hover near $85.35, despite seeing UBS cut its price target to $90 from $93.50, and reaffirm its "neutral" rating. Longer term, however, the shares are sitting on a nearly 6% loss in 2014, and got no help last week from another disappointing quarterly earnings report. What's more, even today's gains are being largely contained by resistance at the equity's 20-day moving average, located one penny above current trading levels. Elsewhere, during the previous 10 days at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), American Express Company has racked up a put/call volume ratio of 1.46. Not only does this mean puts have been bought to open over calls by about a 3-to-2 margin, but also, the ratio ranks in the 98th percentile of its annual range, hinting at a stronger-than-usual preference for bearish bets over bullish.

  • F is off slightly at $14.13, following a pair of skeptical brokerage notes, and ahead of Friday morning's earnings report. Specifically, J.P. Morgan Securities reduced its price target by $1 to $19 (but reiterated its "overweight" opinion), while Susquehanna initiated coverage on Ford Motor Company with a "neutral" rating. Today's losses, while slight, reflect the longer-term trend for the shares, which are 8.5% south of breakeven in 2014. Not surprisingly, options traders have been betting on additional downside in recent weeks. F's 10-day ISE/CBOE/PHLX put/call volume ratio of 0.41 sits just 7 percentage points from a 12-month high.

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