Jefferies Raises Its Buy Targets After Earnings: Yelp, Bruker, AGCO and More

The second-quarter earnings parade may be winding down as we hit August, but the number of companies meeting or exceeding expectations for the period continues to grow. The equity research team at Jefferies is still focused on earnings growth for the balance of 2013 and into next year. They also continue to look not only at domestic names that are outperforming, but foreign names that are hitting on all cylinders. Here are some of the top stocks to buy at Jefferies that are having their price targets lifted.

Yelp Inc. (NYSE: YELP) second-quarter earnings results were very solid, helped by the highest sequential net paying account adds in the company’s history.  Also, this month Yelp announced launch of Yelp Platform, which enables users to interact with local businesses through the app and the website. Plus the top-line guidance range for next quarter was raised. Jefferies raised its price target to $50 from $34. The Thomson/First Call estimate is way below current trading levels at $32.

Bruker Corp. (NASDAQ: BRKR) blasted second-quarter earnings expectations on much stronger core revenue growth and profitability trends. Jefferies analysts think the company is in the very early stages of a profound turnaround, and they think the story has a long time to play out. The company  engages in the design, manufacture, sale and service of proprietary life science and materials research systems and associated products worldwide. It operates through two segments: Scientific Instruments and Energy, and Supercon Technologies. Jefferies raises its target on the stock to $24 from $22, while the consensus target is at $20.

AGCO Corp. (NYSE: AGCO) also crushed its numbers on the top and bottom line. AGCO manufactures and distributes agricultural equipment and related replacement parts worldwide. The company offers high-horsepower tractors that are used on larger farms and cattle ranches, as well as compact tractors for small farms and specialty agricultural industries. Jefferies raises its price target on the stock to $73 from $62, and the consensus price target stands much lower at $60. Investors receive a small 0.7% dividend.

Cognizant Technology Solutions Corp. (NASDAQ: CTSH) is another company Jefferies expects to beat earnings estimates. Comparisons are looking strong, and the company has made comments during the quarter that have been very positive. The Jefferies price target stays at $80, but the consensus price objective is higher at $82.50.

Methanex Corp. (NASDAQ: MEOH) is a producer of methanol, a clear liquid that has been generating strong demand thanks to its increasing inclusion in gasoline, as well as for household cooking and heating applications and for biodiesel use. Jefferies believes that one of the many call options embedded in the Methanex business model is the opportunity to leverage government incentives, particularly in Europe, to capture waste CO2 streams and recycle them into methanol and derivative products. The firm has a $54 price target for the stock, and the consensus is at $50.50. Investors are paid a 1.7% dividend.

Sanofi (NYSE: SNY) is a top foreign name to buy at Jefferies. The company had a poor showing in the quarter, and the analysts believe the resulting sell-off may provide investors the least great buying opportunity in the stock. In U.S. dollars, the Jefferies target is $63, while the consensus is at $62.70. Investors are paid a tidy 2.5% dividend.

Fresenius Medical Care AG & Co. KGAA (NYSE: FMS) is another top foreign name to buy. Jefferies feels the company is on track to deliver solid earnings growth in 2013, despite the weaker performance during the quarter. Product approvals, more favorable German reimbursement, integration synergies and solid execution should ensure double-digit earnings growth continues in 2014. The current share price undervalues the growth prospects. Jefferies target price in U.S. dollars is $42 while the consensus is at $43. Investors are paid a 1.1% dividend.

While it may appear to investors that it is smooth sailing for the markets given the tame statements from the July Federal Reserve meetings, there may be some clouds on the horizon. A looming battle over the debt ceiling very well once again may bring a cloud of uncertainty for Wall Street, and that is never good. It may be a good time to look through portfolios for gains to raise some cash in expectation of a September sell-off.

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