Analyst Update: BP plc, MDC Partners Inc., and Rudolph Technologies, Inc.

Analysts adjusted their ratings on BP plc (ADR) (BP), MDC Partners Inc (MDCA), and Rudolph Technologies Inc (RTEC)

by Griffin Kruse

Published on Apr 28, 2015 at 12:44 PM
Updated on Apr 28, 2015 at 12:49 PM

Analysts are weighing in today on oil-and-gas producer BP plc (ADR) (NYSE:BP), marketing communications specialist MDC Partners Inc (NASDAQ:MDCA), and business technologies firm Rudolph Technologies Inc (NYSE:RTEC). Here's a quick look at today's brokerage notes on BP, MDCA, and RTEC. 
  • The shares of BP are 1% higher at $43.46, after the company posted first-quarter earnings that exceeded expectations (subscription required). In response, S&P Capital IQ raised its price target on BP plc (ADR) to 430P from 385P, but kept its "sell" opinion. On the charts, BP has rebounded 24.6% since hitting a three-year low of $34.88 on Dec. 15, and is on pace to end atop its 10-month moving average for the first time since July. Looking to the options pits, short-term traders are more call-skewed than usual, as BP's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 0.49 stands in the 4th percentile of its annual range. Simply stated, near-term speculators have only been this call heavy 4% of the time over the past year. Elsewhere, short sellers have been hitting the bricks on BP, as short interest declined 16.2% in the past reporting period. It now accounts for just 0.4% of BP's available float, which would take about two sessions to cover, at average trading volumes. 

  • MDCA's first-quarter earnings failed to meet estimates, prompting no fewer than four brokerage firms to cut their price target and/or rating on the equity. Meanwhile, RBC downgraded the equity to "sector perform" from "outperform." At last check, the shares of MDC Partners Inc were down 33% at $18.75, putting them 17% in the red for 2015, and at the top of the list for Nasdaq underperformers today. More negative notes could be in store; prior to today, all five covering analysts rated it a "strong buy."  

  • RTEC, on the other hand, is among the best performers of the Nasdaq. After reporting first-quarter earnings that toppled the Street's predictions, the shares are up 10.2% at $13.28, and earlier hit a two-year high of $13.84. Reacting were no fewer than four brokerage firms, including B. Riley, which upped its price target to $14.50 from $13, and Dougherty & Co., which hikes its target to $16 from $14.50. Both brokerage firms reiterated "buy" ratings.  Today's good news is more of the same for Rudolph Technologies Inc, as the shares are up nearly 30% year-to-date. Accordingly, short interest decreased 33% over the last two reporting periods, and now comprises 4.4% of RTEC's available float. Still, it would take these bettors over six sessions to cover their positions, at average trading volumes, suggesting a short squeeze could add fuel to the stock's fire. 

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