Analyst Downgrades: GNC, AK Steel, and Target Corp

Analysts downwardly revised their ratings and price targets on nutrition retailer GNC Holdings Inc (GNC), steel stock AK Steel Holding Corporation (AKS), and retail chain Target Corporation (TGT)

Jan 19, 2017 at 10:44 AM
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Analysts are weighing in on nutrition retailer GNC Holdings Inc (NYSE:GNC), steel stock AK Steel Holding Corporation (NYSE:AKS), and retail chain Target Corporation (NYSE:TGT). Here's a quick look at today's bearish brokerage notes on GNC, AKS, and TGT.

  • GNC is down 13.4% at $9.66 -- and on the short-sale restricted list -- after a downgrade from Goldman Sachs to "sell" from "neutral," which said "headwinds will be exacerbated by GNC's brand re-launch." The brokerage firm also lowered its price target to $8 from $12. Earlier, GNC touched a new all-time low of $9.46. The shares have been stair-stepping lower over the past year, with breakout attempts repeatedly contained by their 80-day moving average. In the option pits, bearish betting has ramped up in recent weeks. GNC Holdings Inc's 10-day put/call volume ratio at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) of 8.29 sits just 3 percentage points from an annual peak.

  • AKS is trading 6.1% lower at $9.46, after a downgrade to "sell" from "neutral" by Citigroup, which also slammed the broader sector. Nevertheless, the brokerage firm raised its price target on AK Steel Holding Corporation to $8 from $5. AKS, which has slipped from its recent multi-year high of $11.39, is still up more than 400% over the last 12 months. In the option pits, 4.85 calls have been bought to open for every put over the last 10 days at the ISE, CBOE, and PHLX. In other words, traders have high hopes ahead of next Tuesday morning's earnings report.

  • TGT is down 0.4% at $66.58, extending yesterday's losses, after a downgrade to "sell" by Goldman Sachs. Goldman Sachs also slashed its price target to $67 from $77, and J.P. Morgan Securities lowered its price target to $74 from $79. The shares are now down 16% from their near-term peak from late November. Short sellers may be cheering today's drop, with short interest up 10% over the last two reporting periods, and shorted shares now accounting for 6.1% of Target Corporation's float. This would take 8.8 days to cover, at TGT's average daily volume. 
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