Stocks are challenging new highs going into Christmas and year-end, and investors have to be positioning their portfolios for 2014 and beyond. 24/7 Wall St. reviews many Wall Street analyst research reports each morning to find new investment ideas for our readers. Some turn out to be stocks to buy, and some reports are about stocks to sell. These are this Monday’s top analyst upgrades, downgrades and initiations seen from Wall Street research firms.
BlackBerry Ltd. (NASDAQ: BBRY) was reiterated as Underperform after earnings with a $6 price target (versus a $7.22 close) and with lowered earnings per share (EPS) estimates at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. The firm even said that Mr. Chen’s ambition of profitability by 2016 may be too optimistic and pointed out that the cash burn would have been far greater without a $700 million tax refund from the Canadian government.
Five Below Inc. (NASDAQ: FIVE) was raised to Outperform from Neutral and given a $52 price target (versus a $42.78 close) at Credit Suisse. The firm considers it the best of the dollar store category and the best among specialty stores. Credit Suisse sees sustained 25%-plus revenue growth and 30% EPS growth, seeing an upside opportunity for up to 3,000 stores and ultimately generating $6 billion in revenue and $10 in EPS. Interestingly enough, this just made the 24/7 Wall St. list of seven stocks that parents should give their kids for Christmas.
Micron Technology Inc. (NASDAQ: MU) was downgraded to Underperform from Neutral at Merrill Lynch. The firm’s price target was cut to $19.50 from $20.50 in the call, versus a $22.17 closing price. The firm said that the stock has more than doubled and it believes that most positives are “well priced in” on the stock. It also sees no new upside catalysts at the same time that softening NAND (flash memory) prices come with more downside risks.
Tiffany & Co. (NYSE: TIF) was reiterated as Buy at Sterne Agee after losing a ruling with Swatch. The firm maintained its $100 price target (versus a $90.62 closing price) and said that Tiffany likely has the means to pay the $480 million (or so) award. The firm also believes this removes an overhang and said that it would be buyers on any weakness in Tiffany shares. Shares are indicated down 2%.
Other analyst calls of note were as follows:
ARIAD Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: ARIA) has seen several analysts key in after the approved Iclusig relaunch. Shares were up 16% on the news and are indicated up another 7% at $6.92 in early Monday trading. Credit Suisse maintained its Neutral rating but doubled the price target to $5 from $2.50 in the call. Merrill Lynch said that there is too much enthusiasm on Iclusig returns, so it merely raised its prior price target to $3 in the call. A firm called Chardan Capital Markets also raised ARIAD to Buy from Neutral.
CONSOL Energy Inc. (NYSE: CNX) was started as Neutral with a $41 price target (versus a $37.84 close) at Goldman Sachs.
Extended Stay America Inc. (NYSE: STAY) saw its quiet period end and the firms are initiating coverage: Merrill Lynch started with a Buy rating and $28 price target; Overweight with a $29 target at J.P. Morgan; Overweight with $30 target at Barclays; Neutral at Goldman Sachs and at Citigroup; started as Hold at Stifel Nicolaus.
NASDAQ OMX Group Inc. (NASDAQ: NDAQ) was started as Neutral at J.P. Morgan.
Responsys Inc. (NASDAQ: MKTG) was downgraded to Neutral from Outperform at Credit Suisse. The downgrade is based on the Oracle acquisition and a belief that no higher bid is coming. Credit Suisse raised its price target to $27 from $22, matching the buyout price.
Salesforce.com (NYSE: CRM) was started as Outperform with a $62 price target (versus a $53.72 close) at BMO Capital Markets.
Sarepta Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: SRPT) was raised to Neutral from Underweight with a $20 price target (versus a $19.55 close) at Piper Jaffray.
United Therapeutics Corp. (NASDAQ: UTHR) was raised to Neutral from Underweight at J.P. Morgan, following the FDA approval of Orenitram as a treatment of pulmonary arterial hypertension.
J.P. Morgan has shared how to make money from the gold and silver opportunity in 2014.
The independent research firm Argus has made four big changes to its Top 30 list of stocks to buy for 2014.