Analyst Update: JCPenney, Plug Power, HubSpot

Analysts are weighing in on JCP, PLUG, and HUBS

Nov 13, 2014 at 3:05 PM
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The Dow and broader S&P 500 Index (SPX) have retreated from the record highs they hit earlier, amid a selloff in energy names. Meanwhile, among equities in focus are retailer J C Penney Company Inc (NYSE:JCP), fuel cell specialist Plug Power Inc (NASDAQ:PLUG), and Internet marketing firm HubSpot Inc (NYSE:HUBS), which have all attracted the attention of analysts.

  • Unlike fellow retailer Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT), JCP has plunged 7.6% this afternoon to trade at $7.17, after the company reported disappointing sales numbers for its third quarter. Also weighing on the equity is a price-target cut to $5.50 from $7 at Morgan Stanley, with the brokerage firm explaining its previous target was "increasingly aggressive, especially with much-harder comparisons to come." Today's negative price action just highlights the stock's longer-term technical struggles, with shares of JCP off nearly 37% from their mid-September annual high of $11.30. Not surprisingly, sentiment has been tilted toward the skeptical side, as evidenced by the equity's 50-day International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) put/call volume ratio of 0.84, which ranks in the bearishly skewed 80th percentile of its annual range. Outside of the options pits, more than 34% of J C Penney Company Inc's float is sold short, and it would take almost eight sessions to buy these shorted shares back, at the security's average daily pace of trading.

  • PLUG is down 5.2% at $4.04 -- extending yesterday's 16.5% post-earnings drop -- after a downwardly revised full-year forecast was met with a price-target reduction to $6.50 from $8 at Cowen and Company, although the brokerage firm reiterated its "outperform" rating. And outperform it has, with shares of PLUG up roughly 161% year-to-date. Should the stock extend its recent slide, though, a round of downgrades and/or additional price-target cuts could pressure the shares even lower. Of the three analysts covering Plug Power Inc, two maintain a "strong buy" recommendation, versus one "hold" and not a single "sell." Plus, the consensus 12-month price target of $6.88 represents expected upside of 71% to the stock's current perch.

  • HUBS received price-target hikes from Raymond James (to $43) and UBS (to $42) following an impressive first turn in the earnings confessional last night. What's more, the brokerage firms reiterated their respective "outperform" and "buy" ratings on the equity. Against this backdrop, the Big Board newcomer rallied to the $38.60 mark earlier -- its highest perch on record -- and was last seen up 3.5% at $36.65. Since going public in early October, the stock has tacked on 11.2%, and analysts have been quick to take note. In fact, three "buy" or better ratings have been levied toward HubSpot Inc, compared to two tepid "holds" and not one "sell," and the average 12-month price target of $39.50 stands in territory yet to be charted.

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