Research in Motion Ltd. (NASDAQ: RIMM) is a stock which we have real questions about in the years ahead, whether Steve Jobs is gone from Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) or not. iPhone and Android from Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG) rule, Blackberry does not even serve. It is in the king’s dungeon. To see an analyst upgrade is rare right now, particularly if the call on Friday has any real merit. The stock was raised to “Buy” from Neutral at Stern Agee and the prior $28 target was lifted to $35 on new product hopes. The company went out on a limb with this call noting the new Blackberry 7 OS will help have the strongest product cycle in some time. The caveat is a concern over competitive risks and over margin compression. Those are risks, but the big risk anyone needs to understand is relevance. Shares were back up to over $29 late on Friday, up considerably from the recent lows of about $22.00.
Seattle Genetics Inc. (NASDAQ: SGEN) is a call that is so far not working out very well. After it received the first FDA approval this last week, some maintained a positive bias. Not Canaccord Genuity. The firm reiterated its “Sell” rating with a dismal $10.00 price target. Shares closed at $ with $10 target at $15.04 a week ago and the stock was above $16.50 late on Friday.
Sequenom Inc. (NASDAQ: SQNM) can use all the help it can get after the scandals have rocked the company in the past. The stock was initiated as “Outperform” at William Blair on Friday. The stock was up to $5.65 (over 5%) late on Friday and the 52-week range is $5.07 to $8.71. The consensus price target was $7.85 on this one and it has seemed to begin the process of a turnaround if the research call is correct.
SLM Corporation (NYSE: SLM) is the old student loan player which saw its business model gutted in education loan reform. It lost most of its fans, and any remaining fans tend to be fair weather fans. Not this last week. On Monday it was surprising to see that SLM was raised by Credit Suisse to ‘Outperform’ from ‘Neutral.’ The price target was lifted to $18.00 from $16.00 as well. Shares were under $13.75 late on Friday.
VIVUS Inc. (NASDAQ: VVUS) was reiterated as “Buy” with a $9 target on Wednesday at BofA Merrill Lynch. What is interesting about this one is that many analysts have not covered it and this was on the heels of a questionable private financing of $45.8 million at a deep discount this last week. Some brokerage firms use the opportunity to bash a stock or even to throw the towel in for the stock, but not this call. It sounded like a ringing endorsement.
VMware Inc. (NYSE: VMW) was raised to Outperform at Pacific Crest on Friday. The report calls for its big mistake of its change in pricing as effectively being a mistake learned that it would not repeat. Some are still concerned that real damage was done, but that is still up in the air when you consider that the stock has bounced so much. Shares were up over 4% at almost $84.00 late on Friday and the 52-week range is $71.04 to $111.43.
World Fuel Services Corporation (NYSE: INT) was not the typical “value stock” we usually track, but don’t tell it to Zacks Investment Research. They named it “Value Stock of the Day” on Friday and shares rose on the report. The company supplies fuel for marine, aviation and land customers at more than 6,000 locations in 200 countries. What is interesting here is that around $35.00, the 52-week high is $42.15 and the consensus analyst price target is still north of $44.00 per share.
Elsewhere this week we covered the key technology leaders trading too cheap as the Value Stocks are all well under 10-times existing and expected earnings. Another key call was from Citigroup, lowering the global GDP growth targets for 2011 and 2012.
JON C. OGG