Analyst Downgrades: Verizon Communications Inc., Chesapeake Energy Corporation, and Twitter, Inc.

Analysts downwardly revised their ratings and price targets on Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ), Chesapeake Energy Corporation (NYSE:CHK), and Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR)

by Josh Selway

Published on Jun 4, 2015 at 9:38 AM

Analysts are weighing in today on wireless behemoth Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ), commodity concern Chesapeake Energy Corporation (NYSE:CHK), and microblogging issue Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR). Here's a quick roundup of today's bearish brokerage notes on VZ, CHK, and TWTR.

  • J.P. Morgan Securities lowered its outlook on VZ to "neutral" from "overweight," and now the shares are 1.9% lower at $48.17. (On the flip side, the brokerage firm was much kinder to this rival.) With the dip, Verizon Communications Inc.'s year-to-date lead falls to 2.9%, and option traders are likely cheering. The stock's 10-day International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) put/call volume ratio comes in at 1.37 -- ranking in the 87th percentile of its annual range. In other words, put buying has been more popular than normal during the past two weeks. 

  • CHK is off 1.9% at $13.30 today -- a new three-year low -- after Deutsche Bank cut its price target to $16 from $18. This just adds insult to injury, with the stock now down over 32% in 2015. No wonder, then, most analysts are on the bearish side. That is, 16 of 20 brokerage firms say Chesapeake Energy Corporation is a "hold" or worse. It's not just the brokerage bunch that's skeptical. Nearly 22% of CHK's float is sold short, which would take over a week to buy back, at its average trading pace.

  • Evercore ISI reduced its price target on TWTR -- while doing the opposite to sector peer Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) -- by $10 to $39, and downgraded the stock to "hold." Regardless, the equity is 0.6% higher at $37.21 today. Since its bear gap in late April, the stock has been consolidating in this area, and option traders have been betting on a breakout. Twitter Inc's 50-day ISE/CBOE/PHLX call/put volume ratio of 2.65 is higher than 73% of readings from the past year. Not everyone shares this optimism, though. During the most recent two-week reporting period, short interest on TWTR rose by almost 23%.

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