Analyst Update: BP, MDC Partners, Rudolph Tech

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

Apr 28, 2015 at 12:44 PM
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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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