Analyst Downgrades: Avon, Gilead, and Halliburton

Analysts downwardly revised their ratings on AVP, GILD, and HAL

Dec 23, 2014 at 9:18 AM
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Analysts are weighing in today on personal beautification specialist Avon Products, Inc. (NYSE:AVP), pharmaceutical issue Gilead Sciences, Inc. (NASDAQ:GILD), and energy giant Halliburton Company (NYSE:HAL). Here's a quick roundup of today's bearish brokerage notes on AVP, GILD, and HAL.

  • AVP saw its rating reduced to "underperform" from "market perform," and its price target slashed to $7 from $10, at BMO. This bearish brokerage note isn't all too surprising, given the stock's 45.4% year-to-date deficit to trade at $9.40 -- just off a 19-year low of $8.95, tagged last week. In fact, shares of Avon Products, Inc. have underperformed the broader S&P 500 Index (SPX) by 29 percentage points over the last three months, and are pointed 1.4% lower ahead of the bell. Traders at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) have struck a bearish posture toward the equity, as well. AVP's 50-day put/call volume ratio across this trio of exchanges is 7.22, a mere 5 percentage points from an annual high.

  • GILD has received mixed attention from the brokerage bunch, with Deutsche Bank cutting its price target to $125 from $142 (while reiterating a "buy" opinion), and Jefferies upping its target to $84 from $82 (while reaffirming its "hold" assessment). This follows yesterday's news that Express Scripts Holding Company (NASDAQ:ESRX) has replaced the drugmaker's hepatitis C treatment with AbbVie Inc's (NYSE:ABBV) Viekira Pak, translating into a one-day drop of 14.3% for GILD. More broadly speaking, however, Gilead Sciences, Inc. has plenty of friends among the brokerage bunch, with 15 out of 18 covering analysts sporting "buy" or better ratings, compared to three "holds" and not a single "sell." Plus, the stock's consensus 12-month price target of $122.83 stands at a 32.2% premium to last night's close at $92.90. Year-to-date, GILD has rallied nearly 24%.

  • Global Hunter weighed in on a number of energy firms this morning, dropping HAL to "neutral" from "buy," and slashing its price target to $42 from $60. The negative note reflects the shares' technical track record -- down 21.8% year-to-date to rest at $39.68. There's still plenty of room for additional downgrades and/or price-target reductions, as well. At present, 72% of covering analysts sport "buy" or better ratings on Halliburton Company. Plus, the average 12-month price target of $54.58 represents expected upside of almost 38% from current trading levels.

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