Analyst Update: Barrick Gold Corporation (USA), F5 Networks, Inc., and Veeco Intruments Inc.

Analysts adjusted their ratings on Barrick Gold Corporation (USA) (ABX), F5 Networks, Inc. (FFIV), and Veeco Intruments Inc. (VECO)

by Mark Fightmaster

Published on Oct 29, 2015 at 12:37 PM

Analysts are weighing in today on gold miner Barrick Gold Corporation (USA) (NYSE:ABX), tech firm F5 Networks, Inc. (NASDAQ:FFIV), and LED manufacturer Veeco Instruments Inc. (NASDAQ:VECO). Here's a quick roundup of today's brokerage notes on ABX, FFIV, and VECO.

  • ABX reported third-quarter earnings last night, topping Wall Street's expectations. Barrick Gold Corporation (USA) added that it has reduced its debt to $11.2 billion from $13.1 billion to start the year, and that it expects to sell at least one gold mine by the end of the year. In response, Mackie Research raised ABX's target price to C$14 from C$12.35. Technically, ABX is up 3.6% at $7.97, but is struggling to surmount its 20-week moving average. Option traders were hoping for a post-earnings ascent, as the equity's 10-day call/put volume ratio on the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) sits at 13.97 -- in the 88th percentile of its annual range.
  • FFIV is 8.5% lower at $111.07 -- and just touched an annual low of $108 --  after issuing disappointing fiscal fourth-quarter sales. As a result, FFIV has been bombarded by bearish analyst attention, with BMO downgrading the stock to "market perform" from "outperform," saying it is "concerned that a recovery in product sales will take longer than expected to materialize." In addition, BMO slashed its price target to $108 from $140, and no fewer than 10 other analysts followed suit. Option players were bearishly aligned toward FFIV ahead of earnings, as its 50-day ISE/CBOE/PHLX put/call volume ratio of 1.46 is higher than 81% of the readings taken in the past 52 weeks. Likewise, short interest accounts for more than 10% of F5 Networks, Inc.'s total available float.
  • VECO is 17.6% lower at $17.15 -- after hitting a six-year low of $16.54 -- in the wake of its lackluster sales forecast. Analysts have responded in kind: J.P. Morgan Securities downgraded the stock to "neutral" from "overweight," and cut its price target to $23 from $32; Canaccord Genuity lowered its price target to $18 from $29; Benchmark cut its price target to $30 from $38; and Stifel lowered its price target to $30 from $40. With Veeco Instruments Inc. shares down more than 50% in 2015, pessimism in the option pits is expected. The equity's 50-day put/call volume ratio of 3.43 on the ISE/CBOE/PHLX ranks in the 96th percentile of its annual range.
For other stocks in analysts' crosshairs, read Analyst Upgrades: Lifelock Inc, Domino's Pizza, Inc., and Vantiv Inc and Analyst Downgrades:GoPro Inc Buffalo Wild Wings, and Paypal Holdings Inc.

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