Analyst Update: Penn Virginia, Linn Energy, NutriSystem

Analysts adjusted their ratings on Penn Virginia Corporation (PVA), Linn Energy LLC (LINE), and NutriSystem Inc. (NTRI)

Jul 30, 2015 at 1:50 PM
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Analysts are weighing in today on oil-and-gas firms Penn Virginia Corporation (NYSE:PVA) and Linn Energy LLC (NASDAQ:LINE), as well as weight management concern NutriSystem Inc. (NASDAQ:NTRI).

  • PVA has plunged more than 32% to $1.38 this afternoon -- and landed on the short-sale restricted (SSR) list -- after the firm reported lackluster earnings and said it hasn't received any "credible bids."  What's more, the stock is just off a record low of $1.33. As a result, RBC cut Penn Virginia Corporation's target price to $5 from $7 while maintaining an "outperform" rating, and Scotia Howard Weil cut the firm's target price to $4 from $9 and downgraded the stock to "sector perform" from "focus stock." We could see some optimism unwind in the option pits as far as PVA is concerned, as its Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 0.47 ranks lower than 65% of the readings taken in the past 52 weeks. This optimism certainly seems misplaced, especially considering the equity has lost more than three-quarters of its value in 2015.   
  • LINE dropped to an all-time low of $4.76, and was last seen 26% lower at $4.78 (and on the SSR list), after the firm reported ugly earnings and suspended its dividend. This news did not go over well with Raymond James, as it cut Linn Energy LLC to "market perform." The stock had spent the past few months stair-stepping lower, and is now down more than 50% year-to-date. Meanwhile, short sellers have piled on, with short interest surging 36.2% during the past two reporting periods.
  • NTRI stepped into the earnings confessional after the closing bell yesterday, reporting stronger-than-expected earnings and issuing upbeat full-year guidance. As such, the shares are 24.8% higher at $31.46, and just notched a five-year high of $31.60. Following this news, Craig Hallum upped NutriSystem Inc.'s price target to $34 from $30, and B. Riley elevated its target price to $33 from $27.50; both firms reiterated "buy" recommendations. A short-covering rally could provide the impetus for more upside, as more than 12% of NTRI's float is sold short -- nine days of pent-up buying demand, at the stock's average pace of trading.

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