Analyst Update: Noble Energy, Inc., AeroVironment, Inc., and Sigma Designs Inc

Analysts adjusted their ratings on Noble Energy, Inc. (NBL), AeroVironment, Inc. (AVAV), and Sigma Designs Inc (SIGM)

by Kirra Fedyszyn

Published on Dec 9, 2015 at 2:31 PM
Updated on Dec 10, 2015 at 8:57 AM

Analysts are weighing in today on energy interest Noble Energy, Inc. (NYSE:NBL), aerospace specialist AeroVironment, Inc. (NASDAQ:AVAV), and chipmaker Sigma Designs Inc (NASDAQ:SIGM). Here's a quick roundup of today's brokerage notes on NBL, AVAV, and SIGM.

  • NBL climbed 1.5% to trade at $32.78, after the company lifted its fourth-quarter sales volume guidance, and stated that actual volumes for October and November surpassed expectations. What's more, J.P. Morgan Securities initiated coverage on the stock with an "overweight" rating. Noble Energy, Inc. has been clawing its way back from a five-year low of $29.13, tapped in September, but still sits on a 30.8% 2015 loss. Analysts as a whole are vaguely optimistic, as 11 brokerages currently maintain a "buy" rating or better, compared to nine "holds." Options traders have been distinctly bearish, though. At the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), the stock's 10-day put/call volume ratio of 1.11 sits higher than 83% of comparable readings taken in the last 52 weeks. This sentiment is hardly surprising given the recent swoon in the energy sector.

  • AVAV has been blazing a trail higher since exploring two-year lows in September, and today is up 15.5% at $28.25, and just off a fresh annual high of $30.65. Piper Jaffray raised its price target on the stock to $35 from $28, after AeroVironment, Inc. announced quarterly figures last night. The company reported earnings and revenue that exceeded forecasts by a substantial margin, crediting strong drone sales. One group that may not be cheering today's move is options traders. The stock has a Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 2.34 -- just 4 percentage points shy of an annual high -- indicating near-term traders have lately favored puts at an extreme rate. And 5.2% of the stock's total float is now sold short, accounting for nearly 10 days of trading, at AVAV's typical volume. If short sellers abandon their positions or more positive analyst notes come AVAV's way -- not unlikely, as five out of seven brokerages maintain a lukewarm "hold" rating -- the shares could soon see new highs.

  • On pace for its worst day in more than seven years, SIGM fell 30.4% to $6.20, after reporting lackluster quarterly sales and offering unimpressive current-quarter revenue guidance. As such, Sigma Designs Inc received a price-target cut to $12 from $15 at Craig Hallum, which cited an expected decline in television sales. After today's drop, the stock is down 17% for the year, and more downgrades could be ahead, as six out of seven analysts following SIGM currently give it a "strong buy" rating. Meanwhile, options traders have been betting against the security more than usual in recent weeks. At the ISE, CBOE, and PHLX, the stock's 50-day put/call volume ratio of 0.15 is in the 94th percentile of readings for the past year.
For other stocks in analysts' crosshairs, read Analyst Upgrades: Yahoo! Inc., LinkedIn Corp, and Intel Corporation and Analyst Downgrades: Kinder Morgan Inc, F5 Networks, Inc., and Smith & Wesson Holding Corp.

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