The standout research calls this last week were in the following stocks: ABB Ltd. (NYSE: ABB); Allison Transmission Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: ALSN); Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN); Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL); CafePress Inc. (NASDAQ: PRSS); Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. (NYSE: CMG); Demandware, Inc. (NYSE: DWRE); Hess Corporation (NYSE: HES); Infosys Ltd. (NASDAQ: INFY); McDonald’s Corporation (NYSE: MCD); SanDisk Corporation (NASDAQ: SNDK); Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT); Zynga, Inc. (NASDAQ: ZNGA); Seagate Technology PLC (NASDAQ: STX); Western Digital Corporation (NYSE: WDC); Banco Santander (NYSE: STD); and Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria, S.A. (NYSE: BBVA).
We have outlined a summary of each call and added in color on each to show why (and if) the analysts made calls worth watching.
ABB Ltd. (NYSE: ABB) is about to see a drop due to its ex-dividend date and we saw two simultaneous downgrades after an acquisition strategy was outlined this last week. On Thursday ABB shares were downgraded to Neutral at JPMorgan and they were also removed from he coveted Conviction Buy List but maintained as a ‘Buy’ over at Goldman Sachs. This one lost about 5% from earlier in the week by the time Friday’s close came around.
Allison Transmission Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: ALSN) saw its quiet period end on Tuesday. Shares recovered on Friday due to stronger numbers elsewhere but the stock had been weak after the coverage started. We saw the following initiations: Started as Outperform at Baird; Started as Neutral at Citigroup; Started as Neutral at Credit Suisse; Started as Neutral at Goldman Sachs; Started as Neutral at J.P. Morgan; and Started as Hold at KeyBanc Capital Markets.
Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) was a Johnny Come-Lately call where several analysts decided all at once that they had to upgrade the online retail giant after it blew out its earnings: Raised to Buy at BofA/ML; Raised to Buy at Goldman Sachs; Raised to Buy at Nomura; Raised to Buy at SunTrust Robinson Humphrey.
Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) blew the door off the hinges this last week with earnings. While it was already rated and effective buy rating, the new street-high official target is $1,111 and that will make it the first company worth more than $1 trillion by market cap if it comes true. This newest street-high call came from Topeka Capital Markets’ Brian White this last Wednesday.
CafePress Inc. (NASDAQ: PRSS) saw its quiet period end this last week and these are the calls we saw for analyst initiations: Started as Buy at Janney; Started as Outperform at Raymond James; and Started as Overweight at J.P. Morgan. The initiations being positive did not help the shares.
Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. (NYSE: CMG) had to play the great give-back initially after earnings but shares picked back up on the gains and recovered more than $20 off the lows. Credit Suisse downgraded the growth food chain to Neutral on valuation, but the stock was reiterated as Buy with a $480 target at Argus.
Demandware, Inc. (NYSE: DWRE) saw its quiet period end on Tuesday and we saw the following initiations: Started as Buy at Deutsche Bank; Started as Outperform at William Blair; Started as Outperform at Oppenheimer; Started as Neutral at Goldman Sachs.
Hess Corporation (NYSE: HES) took it right on the chin after missing its earnings estimate and we saw at least three downgrades from analysts on Thursday: Cut to Neutral at JPMorgan; Cut to Equal-weight at Barclays; and Cut to Neutral at Credit Suisse.
Infosys Ltd. (NASDAQ: INFY) showed a cautious earnings report with slowing growth in the last couple of weeks, but one analyst went against the grain based upon a cheap valuation. The Indian IT-outsourcing giant was Raised to Buy at Citigroup on Thursday. Prior rating cuts and estimates cuts around the earnings concern had come from Credit Suisse, Barclays, Macquarie, Deutsche Bank, and Goldman Sachs. Citi is trying to stand out here.
McDonald’s Corporation (NYSE: MCD) is supposed to be the darling but we have seen more caution creep in as the shares look properly valued and as the growth story has been massive. The stock was downgraded to Hold from Buy by Argus on valuation.
SanDisk Corporation (NASDAQ: SNDK) had already warned ahead of earnings and then it warned for the quarter ahead with its formal earnings report. This has fallen from almost $50 to $36 during the cycle. On Friday came an against the gain call from Jefferies, which raised its rating to Buy from Hold on Friday based upon an oversold valuation trough. This came on the heels of multiple analyst downgrades the week before.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT) was an awful stock this last week due to the Mexico bribery news, but the stock did recover at the end of the week after it appointed a new corruption oversight member. It was shocking at how few analyst downgrades there were, but Argus stood out with a mid-week downgrade to Hold from Buy based on the concerns.
Zynga, Inc. (NASDAQ: ZNGA) was lower on Friday after earnings as the valuations are a concern and as the guidance was not full of any great upside and since the guidance came with the admission that the year will be back-end loaded. The social gaming player was raised to Neutral at Bank of America Merrill Lynch and was raised to Overweight at J.P. Morgan.
We already called this one out about chasing the results higher and higher because the news should have been known. Both Seagate Technology PLC (NASDAQ: STX) and Western Digital Corporation (NYSE: WDC) were downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Bank of America Merrill Lynch on Friday based on much of the same thoughts.
Goldman Sachs made a rather interesting call on Spanish banks this last Monday, particularly if you consider that S&P downgraded Spain on Thursday. The brokerage firm made a change to its Conviction Buy List: Banco Santander (NYSE: STD) was added to the Conviction Buy List while Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria, S.A. (NYSE: BBVA) was maintained as Buy but removed from the prized list. Banco Santander was also raised to ‘Overweight’ at J.P. Morgan on Monday.
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JON C. OGG