Analyst Update: Anadarko Petroleum Corporation, Esperion Therapeutics Inc, and Priceline Group Inc.

Analysts adjusted their ratings on Anadarko Petroleum Corporation (APC), Esperion Therapeutics Inc (ESPR), and Priceline Group Inc (PCLN)

by Griffin Kruse

Published on Feb 3, 2015 at 1:31 PM
Updated on Apr 20, 2015 at 5:32 PM

Analysts are weighing in today on oil concern Anadarko Petroleum Corporation (NYSE:APC), biotech issue Esperion Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ:ESPR), and online travel website Priceline Group Inc (NASDAQ:PCLN). Here's a quick look at today's brokerage notes on APC, ESPR, and PCLN.

  • APC is up over 3% today to hit $85.35, after the company followed in the footsteps of BP plc (ADR) (NYSE:BP) by saying it plans to cut 2015 capital expenditure in response to a drop in fourth-quarter profit (subscription required). Analysts were mixed on the news, with Raymond James cutting its target price by $7 to $92 while reiterating its "outperform" rating, and Stifel upgrading the stock -- and some of its sector peers -- from "hold" to "buy." On the charts, Anadarko Petroleum Corporation has been getting crushed recently, dropping nearly 25% since hitting an all-time high of $113.51 in late August. Accordingly, sentiment in the security's options pits is nearing a bearish peak, with APC's 50-day International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) put/call volume ratio of 0.54 sitting just 8 percentage points from an annual high. The brokerage bunch is still optimistic though, with 16 out of 20 covering analysts rating the stock a "buy" or better, and the remaining four doling out a "hold" rating.

  • Shares of ESPR have skyrocketed in intraday trading, adding nearly 11.4% to linger near $49.92 -- and notching an all-time high of $55.49 along the way -- following reports the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has cleared the company to begin late-stage trials on its new cholesterol drug ETC-1002. In light of the news, both Credit Suisse and JMP Securities raised their price targets to $100 and $93, respectively. Sentiment in Esperion Therapeutics Inc's options pits is bullish; according to the stock's 10-day ISE/CBOE/PHLX call/put volume ratio, 14.13 calls have been purchased for every put over the past two weeks. However, considering the stock has more than tripled in value year-over-year -- and over 15% of ESPR's available float is sold short -- a portion of these bullish bets could be a result of short sellers hedging against additional upside.

  • PCLN is also up today, adding about 2% to reach $1033.17, amid rumors the firm could have its sights set on a TripAdvisor Inc. (NASDAQ:TRIP) takeover Janney, meanwhile, cut its target price to $990 -- roughly in line with the equity's annual low of $990.69, tagged on Jan. 16 -- while reiterating its "neutral" stance on the stock. Year-over-year, Priceline Group Inc has been a technical laggard, shedding about 8.3%. Despite PCLN's uninspiring performance, sentiment in both the options pits and among the brokerage bunch is bullishly skewed. The stock's 50-day ISE/CBOE/PHLX call/put volume ratio of 1.20 sits in the 89th percentile of its annual range, and 72% of covering analysts rate the stock a "strong buy," with no "sell" rankings to be found.

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