During a huge run in the markets like we have experienced this year, the rising tide tends to lift all boats. Often some of the boats that get lifted do not deserve to be. We have scanned through the research we receive from the top firms on Wall Street looking for the stocks they are advising their clients to avoid.
In many cases this can be a gentle hint to remove these stocks from their portfolios, or an outright short sale recommendation. That depends on investor acumen and experience. Here are five stocks that major Wall Street firms have cut to a Sell or Underperform rating.
Twitter Inc. (NYSE: TWTR) has just completed the first month of trading and the quiet period on the stock has been lifted. Banks that were involved in the deal are out today with their initial ratings on the stock. Merrill Lynch is not very impressed with the stock, starting coverage on the social media giant with an Underperform rating. The call is strictly a valuation call, as the analysts see the stock more than fully valued. The Merrill Lynch price objective for Twitter is $36. The Thomson/First Call estimate is at $37.50. Twitter closed on Friday at $41.57.
Tesla Motors Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) is another that Merrill Lynch analysts are very negative on. With car fires and other issues clouding the reliability of the automaker, Merrill Lynch says flat out that the shares are way over valued. With market cap of more than $15 billion, they expect a large sell-off in the popular momentum stock. The Merrill Lynch price target for the stock is the lowest on Wall Street at $45. The consensus price target is $110. Tesla closed Friday at $127.36.
Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ) is a name to sell at Deutsche Bank. The firm feels that although earnings have improved, the stock has gotten way ahead of itself. The shares are up 92% this year, including an 8% move last week on better-than-expected earnings. The Deutsche Bank price target for the stock is set at $18. The consensus is at $28. Investors are paid a 2.3% dividend, which they would be responsible to pay if they sell the stock short.
Deere & Co. (NYSE: DE) is the only stock on the UBS Key Call list with a Sell rating. The analysts feel that slowing overseas sales may dampen the profit picture for the company. While the recent earnings were better than lowered Wall Street estimates, the company posted lower revenue and sales than the previous year. Investors are paid a 2.4% dividend. The UBS price target for the stock is $72. The consensus is at $87. Deere closed Friday at $84.24.
Dril-Quip Inc. (NYSE: DRQ) has had a tremendous run over the past two years, and the Morgan Stanley team thinks the stock has gone far enough. With the stock trading at a P/E of 30, which is six points higher than its five-year average, the analysts believe the stock is not cheap. The Morgan Stanley price target for the stock is $88. The consensus is $127. Dril-Quip closed Friday at $108.56.
Selling stocks that have run past their targets is one thing. Shorting momentum stocks is quite another. We advise investors to be careful when considering a short sale of any stock, especially momentum names. While they can dive on any unexpected bad news, they can also skyrocket on any perceived good news.