Analyst Update: Keryx Biopharmaceuticals, Lendingtree Inc, and Bankrate Inc

Analysts adjusted their ratings and price targets on Keryx Biopharmaceuticals (KERX), Lendingtree Inc (TREE), and Bankrate Inc (RATE)

by Alex Eppstein

Published on Feb 25, 2016 at 2:52 PM

Analysts are weighing in on drugmaker Keryx Biopharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:KERX), loan marketplace Lendingtree Inc (NASDAQ:TREE), and financial content provider Bankrate Inc (NYSE:RATE). Here's a quick roundup of today's brokerage notes on KERX, TREE, and RATE.

  • KERX is down 4.9% at $3.33, after the company's earnings miss prompted Maxim Group to cut its price target by $6 to $5, while Brean Capital sliced its target to $10 from $18. Year-to-date, the shares have now lost over 34%. Short sellers are hoping to cash in on additional losses for Keryx Biopharmaceuticals, too. While short interest fell 4% during the last reporting period, nearly 40% of the stock's float remains sold short. At KERX's average daily trading levels, it would take more than three weeks to buy back these bearish bets.
  • TREE has soared 23.1% to trade at $86.11, thanks to a fourth-quarter earnings beat, upwardly revised full-year outlook, and a $40 million boost to its stock buyback plan. Adding fuel to the fire, Northland Capital lifted its price target on the shares to $100 from $91 -- territory not charted since mid-December. Elsewhere, bearish option traders could be in trouble. Lendingtree Inc speculators have bought to open 7.15 puts for every call during the last 10 sessions at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX).
  • RATE is fresh off a record low of $6.59, and was last seen 44.7% south of breakeven at $7.01, after the company's quarterly earnings came up short of estimates. CEO Kenneth Esterow explained the results were due largely to Alphabet Inc's (NASDAQ:GOOGL) Compare service, and reduced ad budgets for advertisers. Adding insult to injury, a trio of brokerage firms weighed in bearishly on Bankrate Inc -- including RBC, which cut its rating to "sector perform" from "outperform," and its price target to $9 from $16. In a note, RBC explained, "We now lack conviction in the company's near-term growth outlook, traffic acquisition unit economics, its ability to grow its banking segment." With RATE currently the worst-performing stock on the Big Board, recent call buyers may be licking their wounds. Specifically, traders have bought to open 10 calls for every put during the past 10 days at the ISE, CBOE, and PHLX.
For other stocks in analysts' crosshairs, read Analyst Upgrades: Oracle Corporation, Gilead Sciences, Inc., and Salesforce.com, Inc. and Analyst Downgrades: Restoration Hardware Holdings Inc, HP Inc, and Relypsa Inc.

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