Analyst Update: Splunk, Peabody Energy, CONSOL Energy

Analysts adjusted their ratings on Splunk Inc (SPLK), Peabody Energy Corporation (BTU), and CONSOL Energy Inc. (CNX)

Nov 20, 2015 at 12:39 PM
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Analysts are weighing in today on software concern Splunk Inc (NASDAQ:SPLK), and coal-and-energy interests Peabody Energy Corporation (NYSE:BTU) and CONSOL Energy Inc. (NYSE:CNX). Here's a quick roundup of today's brokerage notes on SPLK, BTU, and CNX.

  • SPLK reported quarterly earnings and revenue that exceeded analyst estimates, and announced that Doug Merritt will take over as CEO, as current chief executive Godfrey Sullivan is retiring. While Jefferies cut its price target on SPLK to $83 from $90, Wedbush gave Splunk Inc a price-target increase to $86 from $83. The software maker was last seen trading down 0.9% at $62.21. While analysts are quite bullish on the stock -- 22 out of 26 brokerages rate it a "buy" or better -- options traders aren't so optimistic. On the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), Splunk has racked up a 50-day put/call volume ratio of 1.29 -- higher than all but 4% of readings taken in the last 52 weeks.

  • BTU is continuing its downward spiral -- the stock has lost more than 90% of its value so far this year-- as UBS cut its long-term forecast for coal prices, citing oversupply and "limited line of sight to a meaningful recovery in gas prices." Furthermore, UBS downgraded its rating on BTU to "sell" from "neutral," and severely cut its price target to a never-before-seen $6, from $33. Peabody Energy Corporation was last seen trading at $11.40, down 3.7%, after earlier hitting an all-time low of $11.00. BTU last month projected sagging coal demand, and it's been lower lows from there, with the stock down 12.4% in November. While only three of 15 analysts following BTU give it a "buy" or better rating, options traders are hopeful. The security's 10-day call/put volume ratio on the ISE, CBOE, and PHLX stands at 3.78 -- in the 76th annual percentile -- meaning nearly four calls are being bought for every put.

  • UBS' forecast is also dragging on fellow underperformer CNX, which is down 0.7% at $7.78. The brokerage firm also cut its price target on CNX by a relatively kind $1 to $9. CONSOL Energy Inc. has lost 77% so far in 2015, but remains 17.1% higher on the month, after hedge fund manager David Einhorn called his long position in CNX his "best idea" at a recent conference in New York. And while CONSOL has little to show in terms of positive drivers -- missing earnings estimates last quarter and slumping alongside commodities -- more than half of analysts following the stock still give it a "buy" rating or better. What's more, CNX boasts a Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 0.56 -- lower than all but 15% of readings over the past year -- showing a heavy preference for calls among near-term options traders.

For other stocks in analysts' crosshairs, read Analyst Upgrades: Intel Corporation, Intuit Inc., and Ross Stores, Inc. and Analyst Downgrades: Gap Inc, Mentor Graphics Corp, and Nimble Storage Inc.


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