This was yet another great market week and it concluded the best stock market first quarter in years. We also saw several research calls which stood out from the usual pack of analyst calls. The top research calls we tracked after going through the week’s upgrades and downgrades were seen as follows: Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE: BRK-B); Dendreon Corporation (NASDAQ: DNDN); Las Vegas Sands Corporation (NYSE: LVS) and Wynn Resorts Ltd. (NASDAQ: WYNN); Tesla Motors, Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA); and finally in A123 Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ: AONE) and Ener1, Inc. (NASDAQ: HEV).
Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE: BRK-B) may have been the accidental “Whoops!” on timing but the call still matters long-term. David Sokol’s embarrassment this last week is more likely to end up being a Sokol issue rather than a true Berkshire Hathaway issue. Zacks Investment Research named it the BULL OF THE DAY on Tuesday and it has an Outperform rating on Mr. Buffett’s flagship.
Dendreon Corporation (NASDAQ: DNDN) had a great week due to CMS reimbursement issues going in its favor. We highlighted it as one of five biotechs with 50% upside this week but a boost from Canaccord Genuity could bring us to think there is much more upside than that. Canaccord’s analyst talked about $4 billion in potential annual Provenge sales, a figure that was well above our models.
Las Vegas Sands Corporation (NYSE: LVS) and Wynn Resorts Ltd. (NASDAQ: WYNN) were the beneficiaries of a call more tied to Las Vegas Sands on Friday, but this feels like a two-in-one. Stifel Nicolaus upgraded Las Vegas Sands to Buy from Hold by Stifel Nicolaus after Macau gaming revenues were higher and after an investigation took a bite out of shares on Thursday. This was a redemption upgrade on Las Vegas Sands. JPMorgan was positive on both Wynn and on Las Vegas Sands as well. Las Vegas Sands saw its shares trade up 3.4% to $43.65 and Wynn saw its shares close up 4.6% at $133.01 on Friday.
Tesla Motors, Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) got a research report that was either genius or absurd and it had a massive impact on the stock. Tesla’s stock rose 17% on Thursday to $27.75 and shares were at one point above 20% on the day after Morgan Stanley gave an official $70 price target after raising it to “overweight.” This was the single biggest impact call of the week as Morgan Stanley touted that Tesla could become “The Big Four” in U.S. automakers. Options volume was up tenfold and stock volume was through the roof. While the upgrade did note many risks to the upside and to the model, the note even left more room above the $70.00 target. This is one call which felt like bull-market-mania. Time will prove it to either be genius or over-ambition clouding judgment.
Our fifth call is a tie between two clean-tech companies in alternative energy. Bank of America Merrill Lynch offered up a large list of clean-tech picks with the most upside. The two that stood out the most were A123 Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ: AONE) and Ener1, Inc. (NASDAQ: HEV), each with 50% to 60% implied upside per the research report.
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JON C. OGG