Analyst Downgrades: United Natural Foods, Inc., H&R Block, Inc., and United Continental Holdings, Inc.

Analysts downwardly revised their ratings on United Natural Foods, Inc. (NASDAQ:UNFI), H & R Block Inc (NYSE:HRB), and United Continental Holdings Inc (NYSE:UAL)

by Alex Eppstein

Published on Jun 9, 2015 at 9:27 AM

Analysts are weighing in today on food firm United Natural Foods, Inc. (NASDAQ:UNFI), tax prep giant H & R Block Inc (NYSE:HRB), and airline United Continental Holdings Inc (NYSE:UAL). Here's a quick roundup of today's bearish brokerage notes on UNFI, HRB, and UAL. 

  • UNFI is taking it on the chin this morning, after the company reported an earnings miss and slashed its full-year guidance. Adding insult to injury, no fewer than six brokerage firms reduced their price targets on the stock -- with RBC setting the lowest bar, at $59. Ahead of the bell, shares of United Natural Foods, Inc. are nearly 7% lower. This is more of the same for a security that's lost 17.7% year-to-date, settling at $63.66 yesterday. Not surprisingly, option bears at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) have been buying to open puts over calls at accelerated rates in recent months. UNFI's 50-day put/call volume ratio of 3.89 shows almost four puts have been bought to open for every call during the past 10 weeks.

  • HRB, too, was on the receiving end of some negative analyst attention following disappointing quarterly results -- as Oppenheimer trimmed its price target on the equity to $35 from $36. Turning to the charts, the shares have been churning in the $30-$33 range for the better part of the last three months, to rest at $31.25. However, the brokerage bunch remains bullish, with five of six covering analysts doling out "buy" or better recommendations (compared to one "hold" and not a single "sell"), and the stock's average 12-month price target of $37.22 perched in never-before-seen territory. Ahead of the bell, HRB is down nearly 1%.

  • UAL, which lost 4.4% yesterday amid a sector-wide swoon, is off 1.7% ahead of the bell.The continued negative price movement is the result of a downbeat unit revenue forecast, which was met with a price-target cut to $75 from $83 at Cowen. Longer term, United Continental Holdings Inc is facing a nearly 23% year-to-date deficit at $51.73, after recent rejections by its 40-day moving average. However, short-term option traders remain decidedly call-skewed. The stock's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 0.35 rests lower than 99% of comparable readings from the last 12 months, meaning call open interest outweighs put open interest by a near-extreme margin, among options with a shelf-life of three months or less.

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