Analyst Update: Chesapeake Energy Corporation, Salesforce.com, inc., and Noodles & Company

Analysts adjusted their ratings on Chesapeake Energy Corporation (NYSE:CHK), Salesforce.com, inc. (NYSE:CRM), and Noodles & Co (NASDAQ:NDLS)

by Griffin Kruse

Published on May 6, 2015 at 1:51 PM

Analysts are weighing in today on oil-and-gas producer Chesapeake Energy Corporation (NYSE:CHK), cloud concern Salesforce.com, inc. (NYSE:CRM), and fast-casual restaurant Noodles & Co (NASDAQ:NDLS). Here's a quick look at today's brokerage notes on CHK, CRM, and NDLS. 

  • CHK released first-quarter earnings and upped its current-year production forecastsending the shares 6% lower to $14.92. Reacting was Jefferies, which lowered its rating on Chesapeake Energy Corporation to "underperform" from "hold" while decreasing its price target by $1 to $12. Heading into today's session, CHK had been staging a comeback, attempting to mount resistance at their 20-week moving average. However, today's drop brings the stock's year-to-date loss to 23.7%. Short-term options traders have never been more put-skewed on CHK over the last year, as its Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 2.63 stands in the 100th percentile of its annual range. Meanwhile, short interest jumped by 33% during the last two reporting periods, and now accounts for 22.5% of CHK's available float. It would take these bettors over six sessions to cover their positions, at average trading volumes.
  • BofA-Merrill Lynch hiked its price target on CRM to by $7 to $80 -- in uncharted territory -- amid chatter that Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) could put in a bid for the firm. Technically speaking, Salesforce.com, inc. has been outstanding, with the shares up about 25.8% year-to-date -- including a 2.5% pop today -- to linger near $74.57. What's more, the shares notched an all-time high of $78.46 on April 29, when reports first emerged that CRM hired advisors to field suitors. Not surprisingly, traders have favored calls over puts in the options pits. Over the past 50 days at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), 1.86 CRM calls have been bought to open for every put, which is a higher ratio than 96% of all similar readings from the past year. Elsewhere, the stock is a favorite of the brokerage bunch, with 83% of covering analysts rating it a "buy" or "strong buy." 
  • NDLS posted disappointing first-quarter earnings and lowered its 2015 projected growth, sending the shares plummeting 17.6% to $17.06 -- and earlier to an all-time low of $16.14. In fact, NDLS is one of the worst percentage losers on the Nasdaq thus far. In response, no fewer than eight brokerage firms cut their price targets on the equity. For example, Barclays, Janney, and Credit Suisse all lowered their targets to $16, while BMO cut its target to $21. On the charts, this is the second post-earnings bear gap of 2015 for Noodles & Co, with the shares down 35.3% year-to-dateDespite this downtrend, calls have been popular in the options pits, as NDLS' 50-day ISE/CBOE/PHLX call/put volume ratio of 1.05 stands in the 73rd percentile of its annual range. Short sellers have taken note of the stock, too -- 23.1% of NDLS' available float is sold short, which would take 12.5 sessions to cover, at average trading volumes. Today, however, NDLS has been relegated to the short-sale restricted list.

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