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EBay and Sotheby's Team Up: Tech Winners & Losers


NEW YORK ( TheStreet) –– GT Advanced Technologies  shares sank 5.5% to $15.17 following a negative analyst report.

CLSA analyst Mark Heller halved his estimates of GT’s sapphire capacity and revenue for 2014. He cited lower than expected growth in GT’s shipments of its sapphire screens for Apple products, indicating that “GT is having issues ramping the new furnaces, which adopt leading edge technology to grow larger boules for mainstream supplier.” He also noted that GT is not supplying sapphire for the upcoming iWatch, despite consensus expectations that it would.

However, Heller’s expectations for the company are positive in the longer term, noting he "expect[s] GT to solve its yield issues over time and see no change to the view that Apple will increasingly adopt sapphire cover technology over the next few years.”

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Last week, UBS downgraded GT stock to “neutral” from “buy” and cut EPS to 12 cents from 17 centa share, but maintained a price target of $22. UBS analyst Stephen Chin wrote that the company will struggle to reach the high end of its guidance: “We believe GT can still hit the midpoint of its sales guidance of $600-$800M but believe our checks of a slower ramp in 2Q14 makes the high end more challenging.” The company’s sapphire ramps were slower than expected and, Chin wrote, “We are not sure why the ramp slowed.” Five days before Chin’s report, GT posted an all-time high of $20.54. Since January, GT shares have nearly doubled.

Despite a new partnership with Sotheby’s , eBay shares fell 0.5% to $51.23 following an analyst downgrade.

Pacific Crest Securities analyst Chad Bartley downgraded eBay to “sector perform” from “outperform.” He wrote that Pacific Crest’s Consumer Tech survey and checks with sellers “have raised concerned about growth trends in Q2” and that he now expects only “modest growth,” adding that “2014 results could finish closer to the low end of guidance.” One driver of the slowed growth was Google ’s  May update of its search algorithm, which negatively impacted eBay search result rankings. Additionally, eBay’s security breach the same month still has “lingering effects” on the online auction company’s performance. Bartley notes, for example, that his consumer tech survey showed that only 50% of eBay users changed their password after the breach came to light.

Today, eBay announced a partnership with Sotheby’s, the blue-chip auction house. The two companies will collaborate “to deliver a new live-auction experience on that will offer mid-priced inventory from the Sotheby’s portfolio.” Unlike typical eBay auctions, the Sotheby auctions on the site will feature “enhanced functionality” including backstories on the items for auction. Users will also be able to follow and participate in Sotheby’s auctions by video in real time. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.