Analyst Downgrades: Microsoft Corporation, Altera Corporation, and Xilinx, Inc.

Analysts downwardly revised their ratings on Microsoft Corporation (MSFT), Altera Corporation (ALTR), and Xilinx, Inc. (XLNX)

by Griffin Kruse

Published on Mar 30, 2015 at 9:43 AM
Updated on Apr 20, 2015 at 5:32 PM

Analysts are weighing in on blue chip Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT), as well as semiconductor concerns Altera Corporation (NASDAQ:ALTR) and Xilinx, Inc. (NASDAQ:XLNX). Here's a quick roundup of today's bearish brokerage notes on MSFT, ALTR, and XLNX.

  • RBC cut its price target on MSFT by $3 to $47, but reiterated an "outperform" rating. Nevertheless, MSFT is higher along with its blue-chip peers. The company over the weekend said it's extending its deadline to re-negotiate its search partnership with Yahoo! Inc (NASDAQ:YHOO) by 30 days. What's more, Microsoft Corporation announced the release date (Oct. 27) for the fifth installment in its extremely popular "Halo" videogame series via a live-action commercial during the season finale of AMC's "The Walking Dead" television show. On the charts, MSFT has been a technical laggard of late -- largely due to a dismal earnings report in January -- with the shares down 10.9% year-to-date at $41.40. However, sentiment in the options pits has been nearing a bullish peak, as MSFT's 50-day International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) call/put volume ratio of 2.15 ranks higher than 98% of all similar readings taken over the past year.

  • No fewer than three brokerage firms revised their opinions on ALTR this morning, after The Wall Street Journal reported that Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC) is considering buying out the semiconductor firm. The report hit the Street late Friday, sending INTC significantly higher and ushering ALTR to a three-year peak of $45. Drilling down, Macquarie and Morgan Stanley both downgraded Altera Corporation to "neutral" or equivalent ratings, with the former raising its price target by $3 to $45, and the latter bumping its price target by $8 to $44. Today, the shares of ALTR -- which closed Friday at $44.39 -- are about 3.7% lower to hit $42.75, bringing their year-to-date lead to 15.7%. Puts have been prominent in the stock's options pits, as ALTR's 50-day ISE/CBOE/PHLX put/call volume ratio of 0.49 reads in the 80th percentile of its annual range.

  • XLNX -- which followed sector peer ALTR higher Friday -- woke up to a pair of downgrades, as both Morgan Stanley and MKM lowered their rating on the equity to "neutral" or equivalent opinions. At last check, Xilinx, Inc. is 2.2% lower at $41.40, steepening its year-over-year deficit to 23.7%. However, calls have been popular in the options pits, as XLNX's 10-day ISE/CBOE/PHLX call/put volume ratio of 2.54 ranks in the 67th percentile of all similar readings taken over the past year.

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