Finish Line Gets Faded; Bearish Analyst Note Can't Stop Alibaba Stock

FINL, BLUE, and BABA are all heavily shorted stocks

Karee Venema
Oct 2, 2017 at 9:48 AM
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Analysts are weighing in on athletic apparel retail stock The Finish Line, Inc. (NASDAQ:FINL), gene therapies specialist bluebird bio Inc (NASDAQ:BLUE), and Chinese e-commerce name Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (NYSE:BABA). Here's a quick roundup of today's bearish brokerage notes on shares of FINL, BLUE, and BABA.

Susquehanna Downgrades Finish Line Stock

Shares of Finish Line are down 5.4% to trade at $11.36, after Susquehanna issued a downgrade to "neutral" from "positive -- saying the stock's recent rally indicates hopes for a buyout from U.K. retailer Sports Direct have already been priced in. Since gapping to an eight-year low of $6.90 on Aug. 29, FINL stock is up more than 72%, and quickly erased post-earnings losses in late September.

There's likely been a number of short sellers caught off guard by this recent upside. Short interest surged 17.3% in the two latest reporting periods to 11.94 million shares -- the highest in at least 15 years.

bluebird bio Stock Slips After Bearish Morgan Stanley Note

Morgan Stanley lowered its outlook on bluebird bio to "underweight" from "equal-weight," sending the shares down 6.5% to $128.75. Today's setback runs counter to BLUE's longer-term trajectory, with the stock up more than 112% year-to-date -- and fresh off Friday's two-year high of $143.50.

Should BLUE stock shake off today's analyst-induced setback and resume its uptrend, there's plenty of room for a round of short covering to create more tailwinds. Currently, 19.2% of bluebird bio's float is sold short, or 6.5 times the stock's average daily pace of trading.

Alibaba Brushes Off Price-Target Cut

Alibaba saw its price target dropped to $210 from $220 at Raymond James, though this still represents expected upside of more than 21% to last Friday's close -- and is having little effect on today's price action. In fact, BABA shares were last seen up 0.75% at $173.90, bringing their 2017 gains just below 100%.

Outperforming BABA stock is also heavily shorted -- making it a prime candidate for a short squeeze. Short interest on Alibaba swelled 5.1% in the two most recent reporting periods to 139.80 million shares. It would take nearly eight days to cover these shorted shares, at the stock's average daily pace of trading.

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