Hedge Funds are Ditching this Dow Stock

Three hedge funds dissolved their stakes in PFE

Aug 15, 2017 at 9:18 AM
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Analysts are weighing in on machinery maker Deere & Company (NYSE:DE), photomask specialist Photronics, Inc. (NASDAQ:PLAB), and Dow stock Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE). Here's a quick roundup of today's bearish brokerage notes on shares of DE, PLAB, and PFE.

Deere & Company Hit with Downgrade Ahead of Earnings

Deere stock is down 1.6% ahead of the open, due to a downgrade to "neutral" from "buy" at BofA-Merrill Lynch. This is a rare setback for DE shares, which closed yesterday at $128.57 -- up 67% over the past year and touching a record high of $132.50 on Aug. 9. With the company preparing to report earnings Friday morning, options traders, too, are turning bearish. Specifically, Deere has a 10-day put/call volume ratio of 1.40 at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), which ranks in the 74th annual percentile. This means put buying has been more popular than normal, relative to call buying. 

Stifel Cuts Outlook for PLAB Shares

Following the company's fiscal third-quarter earnings release last night, Photronics saw its price target trimmed to $9 from $10 at Stifel. The shares have failed to make any headway over the past year, closing last night slightly below their year-over-year breakeven mark, at $9.85. Short sellers would love to see this technical weakness continue. These bearish bets increased by almost 13% on PLAB stock during the past two reporting periods, and at average daily volumes, short sellers now control more than two weeks' worth of buying power. 

Hedge Funds Ditch Pfizer Stock

Pfizer stock is in focus this morning, amid news hedge funds Paulson & Co, Appaloosa, and Soros Fund Management all dissolved their stakes. Plus, Berenberg this morning cut its price target to $36 from $39. PFE shares settled yesterday at $33.31, up just 2.6% year-to-date -- though they've recently enjoyed support from their 200-day moving average. Whether you're bullish or bearish, now is a good time to buy short-term Pfizer options. This is according to the equity's Schaeffer's Volatility Index (SVI) of 13%, which ranks below 90% of similar readings from the past year. In other words, lower-than-normal volatility expectations are being priced into near-term PFE options. 


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