Analyst Downgrades: Micron Technology, Inc., Alcoa Inc., and The Priceline Group Inc.

Analysts downwardly revised their ratings on Micron Technology, Inc. (NASDAQ:MU), Alcoa Inc (NYSE:AA), and Priceline Group Inc (NASDAQ:PCLN)

by Karee Venema

Published on Jun 22, 2015 at 10:10 AM

Analysts are weighing in today on semiconductor concern Micron Technology, Inc. (NASDAQ:MU), aluminum giant Alcoa Inc (NYSE:AA), and online travel issue Priceline Group Inc (NASDAQ:PCLN). Here's a quick roundup of today's bearish brokerage notes on MU, AA, and PCLN.

  • For the second time in less than a week, MU received a round of bearish brokerage notes. Specifically, Goldman Sachs cut its rating to "sell" from "neutral," J.P. Morgan Securities lowered its price target to $33 from $37, and Evercore ISI reduced its target price to $38 from $45. Cowen and Company, meanwhile, initiated coverage on MU with an "outperform" rating and a $34 price target. Wall Street seems to be responding to the negative analyst notes, with the security down 0.1%% at last check. Longer term, the shares have been making a series of lower lows since hitting an early December 12-year high of $36.59, off 33% at $24.44. Micron Technology, Inc. could face additional headwinds, should any more analysts downwardly revise their ratings and price targets -- particularly in the wake of Thursday evening's quarterly earnings announcement. Currently, 79% of those covering the shares maintain a "buy" or better rating, while the average 12-month price target of $36.42 stands at a 49% premium to current trading levels.

  • Second-quarter earnings season will unofficially get underway when AA takes its turn on stage the evening of Wednesday, July 8. Ahead of the highly anticipated event, Sterne Agee CRT lowered its rating on the stock to "neutral" from "buy," citing "intermediate-term ... hurdles to meeting goals in the value added business, and unfortunately, less support from the commodity portfolio as there was in 2014." On the charts, the security has struggled since notching a three-year peak of $17.75 in late November, shedding 34% to trade at $11.73 -- and tagging a fresh annual low of $11.71 earlier. Option traders have kept the faith, and have bought to open calls over puts at a rapid-fire rate in recent months. At the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), Alcoa Inc's 50-day call/put volume ratio of 2.56 rests just 1 percentage point from a 52-week peak.

  • A downgrade to "hold" from "buy" at Deutsche Bank -- which took the glass-half-full route on Expedia Inc (NASDAQ:EXPE) -- has PCLN bucking the broad-market trend higher. At last check, the stock was down 1.1% at $1,146. The security has failed to make any big moves in June, and has spent most of the month sandwiched between its 120-day moving average and its 320-day moving average -- located at $1,156.90 and $1,177.50, respectively. Sentiment remains high toward Priceline Group Inc, though. In the options pits, the equity's 50-day ISE/CBOE/PHLX call/put volume ratio of 1.19 sits in the 85th percentile of its annual range. Elsewhere, less than 3% of PCLN's float is sold short, and would take just under three days to cover, at average daily trading levels.
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