Analyst Adjusts Ratings On Shipping Stocks FedEx, UPS

UBS is wary of FedEx's exposure to tariffs in Asia

by Patrick Martin

Published on Jul 16, 2018 at 10:02 AM

Delivery companies, recently under pressure from Amazon.com (AMZN) and its new service, are in focus this morning, after UBS weighed in on FedEx Corporation (NYSE:FDX) and United Parcel Service, Inc.(NYSE:UPS). The stocks are trending in opposite directions, after the brokerage firm picked a winner from the pair.

Analysts Still Love FedEx Stock

More specifically, UBS downgraded FedEx to "neutral" from "buy," while slashing its price target to $256 from $283. The analyst noted that due to a high percentage of revenue linked to Asia, FedEx stock has greater exposure to tariff risk. In response, FDX is down 1% to trade at $231.38 this morning. The shares have given back almost 12% in the last month, but appear to have found support at their 320-day moving average.

The bear note today is an exception to overall analyst sentiment. Of the 19 brokerages covering FDX, 17 rate it a "buy" or "strong buy," with zero "sells" on the books. Furthermore, the equity's average 12-month price target of $286.24 sits at a 24% premium to its current perch.

In the options pits, calls reign. Data from the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) shows FDX with a 10-day call/put volume ratio of 2.47, ranking 3 percentage points from an annual high. This means that calls have been purchased over puts at a much faster-than-usual clip during the past two weeks.

UPS Puts Becoming More Popular

Turning to UPS, the stock is up 1.9% to trade at $111.04, after UBS issued an upgrade to "buy" from "neutral," while bumping its price target up to $125 from $121 -- waxing optimistic over the company's growth potential. Analysts are much more split over UPS stock, though. Of the 14 brokerages covering the equity, 40% rate it a "strong buy," while the other 60% rate it a "hold" or "strong sell." UPS stock is fresh off its best week since May 11, but has shed almost 17% in the past six months. 

In UPS' options pits, puts are becoming more popular. ISE/CBOE/PHLX data shows the stock with a 10-day put/call volume ratio of 0.73 that ranks in the elevated 73rd percentile of its annual range. While the ratio indicates that long calls have outnumbered puts on an absolute basis over the past two weeks, the high percentile suggests traders have initiated these bearish bets at a quicker-than-usual clip. Year-to-date, UPS has shed 6.7%.

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