24/7 Wall St. usually covers ten to fifteen analyst calls each morning that are having an impact on shares. After going through these research calls at the end of the week (and during the week), there are always some key analyst calls which standout above and beyond the others. What is interesting is that some calls end up being rather awful while others offer keen insight. This week’s top analyst calls were in shares of The Active Network, Inc. (NYSE: ACTV), Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL), Estee Lauder Companies Inc. (NYSE: EL), Geron Corporation (NASDAQ: GERN), Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG), Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ: NFLX), Solazyme, Inc. (NASDAQ: SZYM), Tellabs, Inc. (NASDAQ: TLAB), Western Refining Inc. (NYSE: WNR), and Yum! Brands, Inc. (NYSE: YUM).
We included the research summaries, included price action data, and added in color if applicable. At the end we also have three macro-calls which are bonus calls that are not really equity calls but which need to be considered by investors.
The Active Network, Inc. (NYSE: ACTV) is a strange company and one which we figured would be given ratings like Neutral, Hold, Market Perform, and the like as it is an online community that offers application services technology and marketing access to community service and sports organizations. It has a $1 billion market cap as well. Shares closed at $18.89 on Friday, up from $18.01 the week before and versus a $15.00 IPO price which has never been breached. Still, the analyst community was entirely positive as the post-IPO quiet period came to an end:
- Citigroup- Buy
- RBC- Outperform
- Stifel Nicolaus- Buy
- ThinkEquity- Buy
Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) may not seem like much on the surface because it was a reiterated Buy and the target was raised only $15 to $500 for the stock, but this call from Canaccord Genuity did actually move the meter. Apple shares closed up 0.7% at $359.71 on a day that the NASDAQ closed down 0.45%. What is amazing is that this was actually the highest closing price since the $360.00 close on March 4 and it was about ten days ahead of the earnings report.
Estee Lauder Companies Inc. (NYSE: EL) is being dubbed “The Misnomer Call of the Week” after Credit Suisse started coverage with a “Neutral” rating and gave a $95.00 price target objective. By our take, Neutral implies no direction or no real value for the stock to move either way. What makes this one dubious is that the price was already just above $105 going into the call. This was really a “Stealth Sell Rating” by our take. The Thomson Reuters consensus price target is $105.29 now, which implies that the rest of the analysts on average are “Neutral.”
Geron Corporation (NASDAQ: GERN) was given a key analyst call and shares were up almost 10% at $4.39 on Friday. J.P.Morgan started coverage with an “Overweight” rating for the stem cell leader and assigned a $6.00 price target. The call was timed almost perfectly as all stem cell shares rallied on reports that Swedish doctors were able to use stem cells to replace the trachea of a patient suffering from advanced cancer. Sometimes it is better to be lucky than good, but the call had to impact the overall group as well.
Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG) took a downgrade on Friday from Morgan Stanley, where the rating was cut to Equal-Weight from Overweight and the target was cut to $600 from $645 in the call. With this being 4 trading days before earnings, we could not help but notice the impact. Google was started with a Buy rating at Collins Stewart earlier in the week and it was given that street-high $800 target from Canaccord Genuity just the week before.
Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ: NFLX) saw a major jump after the entertainment research team at Bank of America Merrill Lynch reiterated its Buy rating. What mattered was that it was a street-high price target objective at $325.00 as the bogey. We already opined that calling a top or predicting when this major run ends is nearly impossible, but we would caution one thing: that is only 10% left in implied upside to the highest analyst target. After the run this one has seen, its earnings or another event could easily take out 10% of the share price.