Real Estate Stock Sinks on Claim Company Manipulates Numbers

United Natural Foods stock also fell onto the short-sale restricted list

by Emma Duncan

Published on Jun 7, 2018 at 3:24 PM

Stocks are trading mixed, with the Nasdaq retreating due to the tech sector sell-off. Other stocks making notable moves today are healthcare real estate concern Healthcare Trust Of America Inc (NYSE:HTA), natural foods distributor United Natural Foods, Inc. (NASDAQ:UNFI), and technology name Lam Research Corporation (NASDAQ:LRCX). Below, we will take a closer look at how shares of HTA, UNFI, and LRCX are faring on the charts.

HTA Plunges Following Unsettling Bear Note

Shares of HTA are trading lower after Spruce Point Capital Management published a report announcing its new "strong sell" recommendation on the stock. The brokerage firm is concerned that Healthcare Trust of America could be manipulating its Same-Property Cash Net Operating Income (SPNOI) numbers, and believes the stock could sink to $15. In response, HTA is down 2.1% at $25.18 -- right on the heels of its May 21 two-year low of $24.06.

The stock has had a rough year, losing nearly 20% over the past 12 months. But aside from Spruce Point's outlook, six of 11 analysts following HTA show optimism with a "buy" or better rating. What's more, the stock's average 12-month price-target of $29.35 comes in at a nearly 17% premium to current levels. 

Call Options Hot on UNFI Despite Overwhelming Analyst Skepticism 

United Natural Foods stock has gapped significantly lower, after the company last night reported a first-quarter beat that is suspected to only be due to an unexpected accounting change. As such, Jefferies and Deutsche Bank slashed their price targets to $47 and $50, respectively. Plus, Pivotal to reiterated its "sell" recommendation on the stock.

In response, UNFI is 13.1% lower to trade at $40.12, quickly falling onto the short-sale restricted list. The food stock had been on a modest trend higher ahead of today's drop, but has since pushed its year-to-date loss to 19%, back below the 200-day moving average.

Meanwhile, United Natural Food's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 0.61 ranks in the low 5th percentile of all comparable readings taken in the past year. In other words, options traders are more call-heavy than usual among contracts set to expire in three months or less. 

Lam Research Stock Falls After Evercore Note

An analyst's raised concerns towards the company's shipment outlook has sent LRCX 6% lower to trade at $187.90. Evercore ISI analyst C.J. Muse said memory chip shipments may end up hurting the company's near-term outlook. However, he kept his "outperform" rating and $300 price target.

Despite a mostly sideways run on the charts in recent months, LRCX boasts 16 "buy" or better ratings among analysts. Moreover, the stock's average 12-month price target is $268.62 -- a more than 42% premium to current levels. 

What's more, Lam Research stock's Schaeffer's Volatility Scorecard (SVS) sits at 99 out of 100. This lofty ranking suggests that LRCX has handily exceeded options traders' volatility expectations during the past 12 months.

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