Analyst Update: Apple, GameStop, Applied Materials

Analysts adjusted their ratings on Apple Inc. (AAPL), GameStop Corp. (GME), and Applied Materials, Inc. (AMAT)

Dec 10, 2015 at 1:49 PM
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Analysts are weighing in today on tech giant Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), video game retailer GameStop Corp. (NYSE:GME), and semiconductor specialist Applied Materials, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMAT). Here's a quick roundup of today's brokerage notes on AAPL, GME, and AMAT.

  • AAPL is trading 0.3% higher, last seen at $115.92, after Piper Jaffray named it one of its top picks for 2016. Apple Inc. has been caught up in a slew of news today, with FBR analysts suggesting the company consider a buyout of GoPro Inc (NASDAQ:GPRO), while Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) rolled out a new mobile payment app that could compete with Apple Pay. The tech company sits on a modest 5% year-to-date gain, with a recent rally attempt rejected by the stock's 160-day moving average. Analysts remain optimistic, with more than two-thirds of those providing coverage on AAPL maintaining a "buy" rating or better. And while the stock posted a loss yesterday, options traders were busy buying calls.

  • GME is down 1.8% at $31.87, and earlier hit a new two-year low of $31.47, thanks to a price-target cut to $45 from $50 at Suntrust Robinson. Many traders are already bearish on GameStop Corp., which has lost nearly 6% so far this year. Currently, almost half GME's total available float is wrapped up in short interest -- an accumulation of shares that represents more than 12 times the stock's average daily volume. Meanwhile, analysts are split down the middle, giving GME six "buy" ratings alongside five "holds" and one "sell."

  • CLSA slashed its rating on AMAT to a still-optimistic "outperform" from "buy." The stock, which was last seen trading 1.1% lower at $18.82, has been shrugging off negative analyst attention and staging quite a comeback, since hitting a two-year low of $14.25 in late August. Despite sitting on a 24.5% loss for 2015, Applied Materials, Inc. has outperformed the S&P 500 Index (SPX) by nearly 15 percentage points over the last three months. Options traders have continued placing bearish bets, though. The stock's 10-day put/call volume ratio on the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) is 1.01, which ranks higher than 92% of all readings from the past year -- indicating that traders have been buying to open puts at an unusually fast pace relative to calls.
For other stocks in analysts' crosshairs, read Analyst Upgrades: Starbucks Corporation, Cyberark Software Ltd, and Micron Technology, Inc. and Analyst Downgrades: First Solar, Inc., Qualys Inc, and Men's Wearhouse Inc.

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