Analyst Downgrades: American Express Company, Canadian Solar Inc., and Viacom Inc.

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

by Josh Selway

Published on Apr 7, 2015 at 9:20 AM
Updated on Apr 20, 2015 at 5:32 PM

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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