Analyst Downgrades: Las Vegas Sands, Nektar, St. Jude

Analysts downwardly revised their ratings on Las Vegas Sands Corp. (LVS), Nektar Therapeutics (NKTR), and St. Jude Medical, Inc. (STJ)

Mar 18, 2015 at 9:25 AM
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Analysts are weighing in today on casino name Las Vegas Sands Corp. (NYSE:LVS), biopharmaceutical company Nektar Therapeutics (NASDAQ:NKTR), and medical technology concern St. Jude Medical, Inc. (NYSE:STJ). Here's a quick roundup of today's bearish brokerage notes on LVS, NKTR, and STJ.

  • CLSA cut its outlook on several casino stocks, and LVS was no exception, dropping the shares to "outperform" from "buy" this morning. CLSA also slashed its price target on the stock to $60 from $80. More broadly speaking, seven analysts currently rate the security a "hold," with the remaining six covering brokerage firms doling out "strong buy" recommendations. Las Vegas Sands Corp. has struggled on the charts, giving back 36% year-over-year to close yesterday at $53.34. What's more, the shares are looking at a 1.3% drop out of the gate today. Speculators have continued to place bearish bets in the security's options pits. LVS' 50-day International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) put/call volume ratio of 0.93 ranks higher than 71% of all readings from the past year.

  • NKTR is struggling in electronic trading, off 15% after its breast cancer drug NKTR-102 disappointed in a phase 3 study. In response, analysts are reducing their price targets. Specifically, no fewer than five brokerage firms have lowered their price targets, with Jefferies setting the lowest target at $14. Nektar Therapeutics has struggled in 2015, dropping nearly 9% to finish yesterday at $14.13. Even so, seven of the eight analysts covering the equity say it's a "strong buy," with just one "sell" outlier. Elsewhere, some traders aren't so sure: Almost 10% of NKTR's float is sold short, and would take over two weeks to buy back, at average daily volumes..

  • Wells Fargo cut STJ to "market perform" from "outperform" this morning, and the shares are poised to drop 1% at the opening bell. The security has underwhelmed on the charts, as a 1% decline would put it back in the red on a year-to-date basis. It's not surprising, then, to see put open interest outweighing call open interest in the options pits. In fact, St. Jude Medical, Inc.'s Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) comes in at 0.75, only 3 percentage points from an annual peak. This means the stock's short-term speculators have been extremely put-skewed of late. STJ closed at $65.45 yesterday.

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