Analyst Update: United Rentals, Microsoft, Cirrus Logic

Analysts adjusted their ratings and price targets on United Rentals, Inc. (URI), Microsoft Corporation (MSFT), and Cirrus Logic, Inc. (CRUS)

Jan 28, 2016 at 2:52 PM
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Analysts are weighing in today on equipment rental company United Rentals, Inc. (NYSE:URI), tech giant Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT), and Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) supplier Cirrus Logic, Inc. (NASDAQ:CRUS). Here's a quick roundup of today's brokerage notes on URI, MSFT, and CRUS.

  • URI is down 18.6% at $45.50, just off a fresh two-year low of $45.36, after reporting quarterly earnings and issuing full-year guidance below analysts' expectations. In response, UBS downgraded the stock to "neutral" from "buy," and slashed its price target to $56 from $94. United Rentals, Inc. is now off 37.3% already in 2016 -- likely to the dismay of recent option buyers. At the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), the equity's 10-day call/put volume ratio of 3.19 is higher than 84% of all readings from the past 12 months. On the other hand, nearly 12% of URI's available float is sold short -- accounting for more than six days of trading, at the stock's typical pace.

  • Ahead of its earnings report, due after the close tonight, MSFT is 1.3% higher at $51.86. The shares have been slumping in 2016, down 6.5% so far, and are staring up at the $52-$53 region -- a former area of support that could now act as resistance. And just this morning, UBS cut its price target on Microsoft Corporation by $2 to $58 -- still near all-time high territory for the stock. Option traders are snatching up calls ahead of tonight's earnings. In fact, MSFT's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 0.46 is just 2 percentage points from an annual low -- showing near-term traders are close to a call-skewed extreme. And the options market seems to be pricing in a one-day post-earnings swing of 8.1% -- wider than the stock's average move of 4.8% over the last eight quarters. 

  • CRUS is trading a whopping 15.2% higher at $32.22, after reporting earnings that just topped expectations and giving a strong outlook for 2016 -- a much different path than partner Apple. Today's rally puts Cirrus Logic, Inc. about 9% higher year-to-date. Also helping the shares is an upgrade to "outperform" from "perform" at Oppenheimer (though Barclays cut its price target to $37 from $39). But option traders may be sweating today, as the equity's 10-day put/call volume ratio of 1.63 at the ISE, CBOE, and PHLX shows a heavy preference for puts over calls in recent weeks -- and sits in the 83rd annual percentile. Short sellers may be hitting the exits soon, too; about 12% of CRUS' float is sold, accounting for more than a week of trading, at the equity's average volume.
For other stocks in analysts' crosshairs, read Analyst Upgrades: Facebook Inc, Paypal Holdings Inc, and Kinder Morgan Inc and Analyst Downgrades: eBay Inc, QUALCOMM, Inc., and ServiceNow Inc.

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