The Top 5 Analyst Calls of the Week, Or Top 6 Calls (FFIV, MNKD, PDLI, SBIB, CMA, GOOG, AAPL)

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We always look for standout research calls.  The goal is not to just find bullish calls, but calls which have a longer duration of a single trading session or even a single week.  The top standout calls this last week came in shares of F5 Networks, Inc. (NASDAQ: FFIV), MannKind Corporation (NASDAQ: MNKD), PDL BioPharma, Inc. (NASDAQ: PDLI), Sterling Bancshares, Inc. (NASDAQ: SBIB), Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG), and Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL).

F5 Networks, Inc. (NASDAQ: FFIV) had a very rough week and shares were  battered after its revenue shortfall and mixed guidance was just nowhere near good  enough to satisfy investors after what had been close to a 200% return in the last year.  Many firms threw in the towel as shares went from almost $140 to under $110 and the stock closed out the week at $109.97 versus a 52-week range of $47.11 to $145.76.  We saw two standout calls actually getting behind the network optimization solutions provider.  F5 was raised to “Outperform” from “Neutral and the price target was raised to $134.00 from $103.00 by Credit Suisse.  The firm called it a buying opportunity and a chance to accumulate shares.  Gleacher & Co. also stepped in and upgraded the rating on F5 to “Buy” from “Hold” with a $130.00 price target due to its market position and due to still well above-market growth even if that growth is decelerating.

MannKind Corporation (NASDAQ: MNKD) was one that felt like no Kind man this week.  The company’s inhalable diabetes treatment called Afrezza was given yet another blow by the FDA. In a complete response letter, the FDA asked for two more tests, which will likely cost more capital than MannKind has available today.  Shares were as high as $9.50 before the pre-halt and before the news hit and shares actually hit $10.00 on Tuesday.  After the halt was released, MannKind opened down close to $5.00 on Thursday and shares closed the week out at $5.76 after having briefly challenged $6.00 on Thursday and Friday.  We knew downgrades would come, and we gave our own detailed outlook over at BioHealthInvestor.com.  Still, there was a standout gutsy call made elsewhere this week from a brokerage and research firm we rarely here about.  A firm called Weeden & Co. upgraded the shares from Hold to Buy and raised the price target from $6.00 to $9.00.  Apparently the only thing at issue was that the firm did not have a sell rating before, although most traders and investors treat a “hold” rating the same as a “sell” rating.  Dangerous times for a dangerous stock, but one gutsy call.