Investing

5 Highly Unusual Analyst Upgrades & Downgrades of the Day (AAPL, EVER, BTU, MTN, VHC)

Source: Jon Ogg
Each morning 24/7 Wall St. tracks the wide number of analyst upgrades and downgrades that come out from Wall Street analysts.  After looking back through these reports, many calls stand out as being highly unusual calls which either highlight unseen events or which generated significant share price moves.

The five highly unusual analyst calls which stood out the most to us on Tuesday are as follows: Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL); EverBank Financial Corp. (NYSE: EVER); Peabody Energy Corporation (NYSE: BTU); Vail Resorts Inc. (NYSE: MTN); and VirnetX Holding Corporation (AMEX: VHC).  Details on each are below.

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) has not seen many upgrades and target prices lifted since its blowout earnings report.  Zacks gave this a reiterated Outperform rating with a $685 target but what stood out was naming it The Bull of the Day and the stock is up 1.4% at $570.30.

EverBank Financial Corp. (NYSE: EVER) saw its quiet period end as the volume had grown rather small on this issue.  Credit Suisse gave it a dull Neutral rating, but KBW gave an Outperform rating and Bank of America Merrill Lynch threw a Buy rating here.  Shares were up close to 2% at $11.40 on only about 165,000 shares as of 2:30 PM EST.

Peabody Energy Corporation (NYSE: BTU) has been in the brutalized coal space and its shares have fallen by well over half from the 52-week high.  Goldman Sachs gave this an upgrade on valuation today, taking its rating to Buy from Neutral and giving a target price of $37.00.  At today’s price of $24.86 after a 4.1% gain on the day this still offers about 50% upside if the firm is correct, and it is worth noting that Goldman’s target price is about $6.00 under the Thomson Reuters consensus price target.

Vail Resorts Inc. (NYSE: MTN) is not that widely followed by Wall Street.  It is the owner of the Vail resort and its value is almost $1.6 billion.  Stifel Nicolaus doesn’t seem to care that this was one of the warmest winters on record and does not seem to care about very lofty valuations when you look at forward earnings estimates.  The firm raised its rating to Buy from hold and gave a $53 price target, generating a move of almost 6% higher to $43.90 today against a 52-week range of $24.54 to $48.65.  Oddly enough, this gain was on lackluster trading volume.

VirnetX Holding Corporation (AMEX: VHC) is one of the patent troll outfits out there, and despite a $1.6+ billion market value it is very thinly followed by Wall Street and many on Main Street have still never heard of it.  An outfit named Gilford Securities started coverage with a BUy rating, and the $65 price target implies the shot for a 100% gain from here.  VirnetX shares were up 8.2% at $32.60 with volume already being more than 50% above-average at the 2:30 PM mark today.  Someone expects Apple and Microsoft to represent huge cash flow streams for this company.

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Tuesday’s full top analyst upgrades and downgrades are here.

JON C. OGG