Analyst Update: Anadarko Petro, Esperion, Priceline

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

Feb 3, 2015 at 1:31 PM
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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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