Investing

24/7 Wall St. Top Analyst Calls of the Week (BSFT, FB, RAD, SNDK, STI, VE, VRA)

Source: Jon Ogg
Each morning 24/7 Wall St. releases the top analyst upgrades and downgrades seen from Wall Street firms.  After reviewing those calls and other calls not covered in the morning summaries, we find that some of these calls offered keen insight, or they created large moves in the share price, or there was some key data that is not widely followed by the public.  These become the Top Analyst Calls of the Week.

This last week’s top analyst upgrades, downgrades and initiations were in the following companies: BroadSoft, Inc. (NASDAQ: BSFT); Facebook, Inc. (NASDAQ: FB); Rite Aid Corporation (NYSE: RAD); SanDisk Corporation (NASDAQ: SNDK); SunTrust Banks, Inc. (NYSE: STI); Veolia Environnement SA (NYSE: VE); and Vera Bradley, Inc. (NASDAQ: VRA).  We have compiled a summary and color on each with links to more detail if applicable.

BroadSoft, Inc. (NASDAQ: BSFT) has been winning industry accolades of late, but its stock has gone nowhere with the unified communications technology. Mizuho maintained its BUY rating on Friday but lowered the target to $35 from $54 on the stock.  Shares were down over 5% at $27.60 in the final minutes of Friday’s session after what looked like a recovery in its chart.

Facebook, Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) received a bit of a strange upgrade from S&P Capital IQ this week, only to HOLD from SELL.  JMP Securities also start coverage with an OUTPERFORM rating. This is all after one analyst predicted that Facebook would be dead in just five years. We ran our own analysis on Friday and this one looks like Facebook shares are finally wanting to bottom out after being down 30% from the IPO pricing. FULL REVIEW

Rite Aid Corporation (NYSE: RAD) hardly budged on Friday and the stock was down almost 2% at $1.22 in the late session on Friday.  The movement is not unusual at all, but the upside and takeout talk was… Credit Suisse reiterated its OUTPERFORM rating and its $2.00 target, but more importantly it chatted up Rite Aid’s long-term buyout prospects from the likes of a Walgreen Co. (NYSE: WAG).  FULL DETAILS

SanDisk Corporation (NASDAQ: SNDK) was initiated by Pacific Crest with an OUTPERFORM rating and it set a $47.00 price target. While the upside to the price target was nearly 50%, the report actually claims that SanDisk trades at a 70% discount to its asset value. SanDisk was up well over 5% on the call when covered it around $33.25 but the stock continued to rise throughout the week to close out at $35.43 for continued strength here after this call. FULL SUMMARY

SunTrust Banks, Inc. (NYSE: STI) is effectively all tied to the United States.  Many investors hate all banks right now and analysts have been negative on the long-term prospects of most money-center banks and larger regional banks.  So when this was raised to BUY from HOLD on Friday at Argus with a $30 price target the 30% or so upside sure stood out. Earlier in the week we saw that Evercore raised its rating to OVERWEIGHT with a $27 price target.

Veolia Environnement SA (NYSE: VE) has been a battered water and environmental player for longer than its shareholders would like to consider.  It is also French, so many US investors do not follow it even though it is key to many water portfolios for investors.  Less than 5-years ago this ADR traded at $90 and now it trades at $12.44 as its turnaround has been very slow and as a new management team tries to implement a leaner more focused plan.  Barclays on Friday started shares with an OVERWEIGHT rating and its translated upside is close to 20%.  If Barclays is right here (only 2 upgrades recently, in April), then more analysts will start to upgrade this one and the upside would likely be far higher.

Vera Bradley, Inc. (NASDAQ: VRA) has been battered after having had a great post-IPO run.  Many analysts got out of the way on this one and CNBC’s Herb Greenberg has been pointing out many of the ongoing issues here for quite some time.  But on Wednesday came a report from KeyBanc, which raised the rating to BUY from HOLD and gave a $26 price target. SHares closed at $20.20 the night before that early call and the stock closed the week out at $22.81 for more than a 10% gainer on the call.

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JON C. OGG