Each morning we cover many analyst upgrades and downgrades which we think will have an impact on the underlying stocks and sectors. After each week we review those research calls and other research calls to see which ones really stood out or which ones had the most impact on each company and sector. Suddenly, we end up with the top analyst calls of the week.
The Top Ten Analyst Calls of the Week were in shares of Biogen Idec Inc. (NASDAQ: BIIB); Boston Scientific Corporation (NYSE: BSX); F5 Networks, Inc. (NASDAQ: FFIV); First Solar, Inc. (NASDAQ: FSLR); FriendFinder Networks Inc. (NASDAQ: FFN); Molycorp, Inc. (NYSE: MCP); Reynolds American Inc. (NYSE: RAI); SatCon Technology Corporation (NASDAQ: SATC); and SIRIUS XM Radio Inc. (NASDAQ: SIRI). There was also a standout coal sector call, with a particular highlight in Patriot Coal Corporation (NYSE: PCX).
We have shown some added detail on the summaries, included price impact and target data ahead, and included additional color if applicable. If the calls were much more detailed or broader we also included a link to more data.
Biogen Idec Inc. (NASDAQ: BIIB) is a strange situation. We asked on Monday if it was getting too expensive based upon valuation after ISI Group raised its rating to BUY from HOLD on Monday, but shares rose almost 10% for the week to $103.42. The stock actually rose every day this week and it received multiple analyst upgrades: Raised to Hold from Sell at S&P Equity Research; Raised to Outperform from Neutral at Credit Suisse; Raised to Buy from Hold at Deutsche Bank. If it is too expensive, analysts believe it can get much more expensive now.
Boston Scientific Corporation (NYSE: BSX) is supposed to be a winner from J&J’s stent exit but this company remains in perpetual turnaround mode. Moody’s lifted its corporate credit rating to positive, implying that its “Ba1″ rating could be moved to Baa3 or better and that would make it investment grade again. We had a duel between two equity analysts this week:
- UBS cut its rating to Neutral from Buy with a $7.65 target;
- Stifel Nicolaus started coverage with a Buy rating and a $9.00 price target.
Shares of Boston Scientific closed up almost 2% at $6.89 for the week but that was after a 2.8% drop on Friday after the UBS cut and with a weak market.
F5 Networks, Inc. (NASDAQ: FFIV) has been a controversial stock since its meteoric rise came tumbling down. This week brought an analyst duel with a key upgrade and a key downgrade: JPMorgan cut its rating to Neutral with a $105 price target while Barclays raised its rating to Overweight with a $125 price target. The stock closed up about 10% at $106.10 on the week and is still down considerably from its $145.76 high.
First Solar, Inc. (NASDAQ: FSLR) had a rough week closing at $116.56 versus $121.55 the Friday before. Morningstar included it in a sector downgrade with a call for more solar weakness ahead. Lower oil prices did not help. JPMorgan also cut estimates and its target to $105 and a company called Maxim Group issued a sell rating. Meanwhile, TheStreet gave a competing list of value stocks in solar with much more upside.