Analyst Downgrades: Amex, Canadian Solar, Viacom

Analysts downwardly revised their ratings on American Express Company (AXP), Canadian Solar Inc. (CSIQ), and Viacom, Inc. (VIAB)

Josh Selway
Apr 7, 2015 at 9:20 AM
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Analysts are weighing in today on credit card concern American Express Company (NYSE:AXP), alternative energy issue Canadian Solar Inc. (NASDAQ:CSIQ), and communications concern Viacom, Inc. (NASDAQ:VIAB). Here's a quick roundup of today's bearish brokerage notes on AXP, CSIQ, and VIAB.

  • AXP was cut to "underperform" from "perform" at Oppenheimer this morning, sending the shares 1% lower in electronic trading. It's already been a rough few months for the security, as it currently sits 14.4% below its year-to-date breakeven mark. Bearish betting has picked up in American Express Company's options pits. The equity's 10-day International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) put/call volume ratio of 1.12 ranks higher than 87% of other readings from the past year, revealing a stronger preference for puts over calls than normal. For the most part, analysts are mixed on AXP. Nine analysts rate the stock a "buy" or better, with the remaining 12 brokerage firms rating it a "hold" or worse. Yesterday, the shares settled at $79.63.

  • Canaccord Genuity weighed in on CSIQ last night with a $1 price-target reduction to $45, but kept its "buy" rating on the shares. The stock has been strong in the past three months, beating out the S&P 500 Index (SPX) by 48 percentage points in that time to close yesterday at $34.19. Still, Canadian Solar Inc. remains 35.4% below its average 12-month price target of $46.29. In options land, puts have been popular, at least among contracts expiring in three months or less. Specifically, CSIQ's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 0.92 ranks in the 95th annual percentile. This reading indicates short-term options traders are more put-skewed than usual.

  • VIAB saw its price target cut to $77 from $83 at Wedbush, after the company underwent a broad restructuring, which included $785 million in pretax charges. The move by the company was partly driven by weak ratings for its flagship channels, which has contributed to a 17.1% loss for VIAB over the past 52 weeks. In pre-market trading, the shares are down 1.6%, having settled yesterday at $68.60. Viacom, Inc. may be in danger of additional negative analyst attention. Twelve of 23 brokerage firms still have "buy" or better ratings on the shares.

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