One Analyst Sees More Trouble for the Year's Worst Dow Stock

Options traders have been betting on Schlumberger stock in recent months

Managing Editor
Oct 11, 2017 at 10:18 AM
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Analysts are weighing in on oil-and-gas company Schlumberger Limited (NYSE:SLB), Dow stock General Electric Company (NYSE:GE), and biotech bluebird bio Inc (NASDAQ:BLUE). Here's a quick roundup of today's bearish brokerage notes on shares of SLB, GE, and BLUE.

BMO Downgrades Schlumberger Stock

BMO downgraded Schlumberger stock to "market perform" from "outperform," while reducing its price target by $2 to $72. SLB stock is currently down 2.1% to trade at $66.91, and is back below its 120-day moving average -- a trendline that recently served as support for the security following a rally off its late-August lows near $62.50.

Longer term, the equity has shed 20.3% year-to-date, but options traders have been buying to open calls over puts at a faster-than-usual clip in recent months. SLB stock has racked up a 50-day call/put volume ratio of 1.97 at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), which ranks 5 percentage points from a 52-week high.

General Electric Stock Gets PT Cut Amid Takeover Rumors

J.P. Morgan Securities issued a price-target cut on General Electric to $20 from $22, sending the stock is down 0.9% to trade at $23.15 -- and fresh off a new two-year low of $23.02. The industrial conglomerate has shed 26.7% year-to-date -- the worst of all Dow stocks -- and with an average 12-month price target of $27.50, a 19% premium to the stock's current perch, more bearish brokerage notes could be on the way.

Short sellers have been piling on GE stock, too. Short interest increased by almost 26% during the last two reporting periods to 125.75 million shares, its highest point since mid-December. Continued selling pressure from shorts could create more headwinds for the shares.

Separately, a Wall Street Journal report suggested GE's Baker Hughes was recently in takeover talks with energy services company Subsea 7 SA. And while the talks have since ended, speculation is swirling that they could be revived.

Bluebird Bio Stock Downgraded At Jefferies

bluebird bio stock is down 1.7% to trade at $129.25, after Jefferies downgraded the biotech name to "hold" from "buy." And while the brokerage firm raised its price target to $126 from $88, this is still a discount to current trading levels.

This is just the latest in a recent string of bearish analyst notes, even as BLUE stock has added 113% year-to-date. Plus, the stock touched a two-year high of $143.50 on Sept. 29, and its pullback from here has been contained by the 30-day moving average.

Short sellers, meanwhile, have been jumping ship amid the stock's longer-term uptrend. Short interest plunged 43.8% in the last reporting period to 4.36 million shares. However, this still represents 10.8% of the stock's available float, and would take almost six days to cover, at bluebird's average daily trading volume.

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