Analyst Update: Habit Restaurants, Big Lots, bebe stores

Analysts adjusted their ratings on Habit Restaurants Inc (HABT), Big Lots, Inc. (BIG), and bebe stores, inc. (BEBE)

Mark Fightmaster
Aug 28, 2015 at 1:55 PM
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Analysts chimed in on restaurant operator Habit Restaurants Inc (NASDAQ:HABT), and retailers Big Lots, Inc. (NYSE:BIG) and bebe stores, inc. (NASDAQ:BEBE). Here's a quick roundup of today's brokerage notes on HABT, BIG, and BEBE.

  • HABT is 4.6% higher at $25.52 this afternoon, thanks to an upgrade to "buy" from "hold" at Stifel. The brokerage noted that Habit Restaurants Inc's The Habit Burger Grill chain "represents a new breed of an up-and-coming concept that is destined to dominate the U.S. restaurant industry." While the stock has advanced thanks to the upgrade, it appears to be stalling out near its 20-day moving average -- which has pushed the shares lower since the end of June. During this brief time, HABT has shed around 30%. Similar to sector peer Shake Shack Inc (NYSE:SHAK), short interest on the restaurant firm is rather high, with 29% of its float sold short -- representing 5.8 times the equity's average daily trading volume.

  • Unlike fellow discount retailer Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT), BIG is 16.6% higher at $48.96 after a solid earnings performance and management shakeup gave Cantor reason to raise the retailer's price target to $47 from $45. However, the brokerage reaffirmed its "hold" rating on Big Lots, Inc. The stock's move now has it positioned to close above its 10-month moving average for the first time since March. BIG is another equity with a substantial amount of its float sold short, at 25%. Should the shares extend today's earnings-induced upside, they could enjoy a sustained short-covering rally. At BIG's average daily trading volume, it would take about a month to cover all of these bearish bets.

  • BEBE isn't faring as well today -- and neither is Aeropostale Inc (NYSE:ARO) -- as it is more than 25% lower at $1.39, and fresh off an all-time low at $1.24. The stock has plunged after Mizuho cut its price target to $2 from $2.25 with a "neutral" rating. The price-target cut came after bebe stores, inc. missed its fiscal fourth-quarter sales target, along with what the brokerage feels is a lack of trendy products in the current quarter. Additionally, Mizuho feels the company's fourth-quarter results present a "hiccup" to BEBE's turnaround plans. Ahead of last night's report, option traders were loading up on long puts, and at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), they had bought to open 2.46 puts for every call over the past two weeks. 
For other stocks in analysts' crosshairs, read Analyst Upgrades: El Pollo Loco Holdings Inc, Akamai Technologies, Inc., and GameStop Corp. and Analyst Downgrades: Autodesk, Inc., Seadrill Ltd , and Aeropostale Inc.

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