2 FAANG Stocks Feeling the Analyst Heat

Stifel downgraded FB and cut its price target on NFLX stock

by Andrea Kramer

Published on Dec 6, 2018 at 10:37 AM

Tech stocks are once again in the spotlight today, as the arrest of Huawei's CFO sends shockwaves through the sector, and threatens U.S.-China trade relations. Meanwhile, FAANG stocks Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) and Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX) are in Stifel's crosshairs, with the brokerage firm downgrading one and cutting its price target on the other.

While U.S. markets were shuttered Wednesday to mourn President George H.W. Bush, a British lawmaker released 223 pages supporting claims that Facebook picked favorites regarding the sharing of user data, and strategically iced out companies it viewed as rivals. Stifel opined that the regulatory and political ramifications could eventually lead to restrictions on how the social network giant operates. In addition, the analyst noted the distrust growing among users, downgrading FB stock to "hold" from "buy."

It's been a rough stretch for Facebook recently, amid a stream of PR problems. The stock has dropped more than 38% since its July record high of $218.62, with rebound attempts stalling at its 30-day moving average. Today, FB shares have given up 2.7% to trade at $134.21.

In the options pits, put buying has been gaining in popularity. FB's 10-day put/call volume ratio of 0.75 on the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) ranks in the 91st percentile of its annual range, indicating that speculators have shown a much healthier-than-usual appetite for bearish bets during the past two weeks.

Netflix stock, meanwhile, was last seen 2.6% lower to trade at $268.17, after Stifel slashed its price target to $380 from $474. NFLX shares have also surrendered about 38% since their June record high of $423.20, pressured beneath their own 30-day trendline.

Nevertheless, most analysts remain bullish. NFLX boasts 22 "buy" or better endorsements, compared to nine lukewarm "holds" and only one "strong sell" rating. Plus, the average 12-month price target of $395.66 represents a premium of nearly 48% to the equity's current perch. A continued slide by the FAANG stock could bring downgrades or additional price-target cuts.

Traders looking to speculate on NFLX should consider short-term options. The equity's Schaeffer's Volatility Scorecard (SVS) stands at a lofty 97 out of 100, indicating the shares have handily exceeded options traders' volatility expectations in the past year.

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