Analyst Downgrades: Marathon Oil Corporation, Target Corporation, and TrueCar Inc

Analysts downwardly revised their ratings and price targets on Marathon Oil Corporation (MRO), Target Corporation (TGT), and TrueCar Inc (TRUE)

by Alex Eppstein

Published on Sep 12, 2016 at 9:38 AM

Analysts are weighing in on energy stock Marathon Oil Corporation (NYSE:MRO), retail giant Target Corporation (NYSE:TGT), and vehicle-buying platform TrueCar Inc (NASDAQ:TRUE). Here's a quick roundup of today's bearish brokerage notes on MRO, TGT, and TRUE.

  • MRO had its rating lowered to "neutral" from "outperform" at Credit Suisse. Out of the gate, the oil-and-gas stock is down 1.9% at $15.38, but has more than doubled since hitting a 13-year low of $6.52 in mid-February. Not surprisingly, short-term options traders have been call-skewed toward Marathon Oil Corporation. Specifically, the stock's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) is 0.63, ranking in the bottom one-third of all readings taken in the past year.
  • TGT is off 0.8% at $68.45, after being hit by a downgrade to "market perform" from "outperform" at Cowen -- which, likewise, slashed its price target to $68 from $75. Things haven't been pretty for the retail stock of late, down sharply from its mid-April high of $84.14 -- including last month's bearish gap following lackluster guidance. Meanwhile, options traders have been picking up the pace when it comes to placing bearish bets on Target Corporation. At the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), TGT's 50-day put/call volume ratio of 1.17 registers just 5 percentage points from a 12-month high.
  • Morgan Stanley lowered its opinion of TRUE to "underweight" from "equal weight," but lifted its price target to $6.40 from $5 -- still a sharp discount relative to present levels. The bearish note has the stock down 6.1% out of the gate at $8.29, bringing its year-to-date deficit to 13.3%. Short sellers haven't been shy about pouncing on the long-term underperformer. While short interest did pull back about 11% in the most recent reporting period, a still-lofty 11% of TrueCar Inc's float is dedicated to short interest. What's more, it would take about two weeks to cover these bearish bets, at TRUE's typical daily volumes.
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