Analyst Downgrades: Microsoft, Altera, Xilinx, Inc.

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

Mar 30, 2015 at 9:43 AM
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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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