Analyst Downgrades: Zumiez Inc., Halliburton Company, and Exxon Mobil Corporation

Analysts downwardly revised their ratings and price targets on Zumiez Inc. (NASDAQ:ZUMZ), Halliburton Company (NYSE:HAL), and Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM)

by Josh Selway

Published on Sep 11, 2015 at 9:30 AM
Updated on Sep 11, 2015 at 9:31 AM

Analysts are weighing in on apparel company Zumiez Inc. (NASDAQ:ZUMZ), as well as oil-and-gas giants Halliburton Company (NYSE:HAL) and Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM). Here's a quick roundup of today's bearish brokerage notes on ZUMZ, HAL, and XOM.

  • ZUMZ is set for a rough morning, after the company reported disappointing quarterly results and lower-than-expected current-quarter guidance. Now, the shares are sitting 19.9% lower in pre-market trading, but that's nothing new: The stock has dropped 43.9% in 2015 to hit $21.66. The shares are also set to open at a nearly four-year low. Making matters worse is a round of bearish analyst attention, as Zumiez Inc. has received no fewer than nine price-target reductions since yesterday's close; Wolfe Research set the bar the lowest, at $16. Elsewhere, short sellers are ready to celebrate. Fourteen percent ZUMZ's float is controlled by short sellers, and it would take them close to eight days to buy back their bets, at the security's typical daily volumes. 

  • Jefferies took the price-target-cutting axe to several energy names, including HAL. The brokerage firm reduced its target to $47, which is still a premium to Thursday's close at $37.58. The shares have been pressured lower throughout the year by their 180-day moving average, coming in 4.5% below breakeven year-to-date. Call players are still active, though. Halliburton Company's 10-day International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) call/put volume ratio of 2.94 is just 9 percentage points from a 12-month high. In other words, traders have bought to open HAL calls over puts at a near-extreme rate recently. These bulls could be on edge this morning, though, with the stock on track to plunge 2.6% at the open.

  • Not only did XOM get hit with a price-target cut at Jefferies (set at $80), the stock also saw J.P Morgan Securities and Cowen and Company lower their respective price targets to $78 and $92. Over two-thirds of analysts already consider the shares a "hold" or worse, and short-term speculators have followed suit. Exxon Mobil Corporation's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) stands at 1.08, which is higher than 82% of all similar readings from the past year. In short, puts have been more popular than usual relative to calls, when looking at options that expire in three months or less. The security closed Thursday at $72.52, down more than 20% in 2015.
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