EOG Resources Inc. (NYSE: EOG) was started as Buy and was given a 12-month price target of $135 (versus a $117.10 close) at Argus. The firm expected it to outperform ahead based on developing its high-quality liquids-rich asset base.
Estee Lauder Companies Inc. (NYSE: EL) was started as Buy and was assigned a target price of $88 (versus a $75.14 close) at Argus. Despite softness in retail and consumer products, the firm likes the company’s emphasis on affluent consumers and high-margin products.
The Fresh Market Inc. (NASDAQ: TFM) was called the cheapest way to play the healthy living trend by Credit Suisse, yet the firm started coverage on it with an Underperform rating and a $29 price target (versus a $31.77 close).
Gastar Exploration Inc. (NYSEMKT: GST) was started as Buy with a $12 price target (versus a $8.06 close) at Canaccord Genuity, with the comment that there is more here than meets the eye.
Illumina Inc. (NASDAQ: ILMN) was started as Buy with a $215 price target (versus a $171.09 close) at Citigroup.
Intel Corp. (NASDAQ: INTC) was pumped in Barron’s in a Wednesday post-earnings report. The publication wrote:
A strong quarter and bullish forecast are propelling shares to a decade high. Time to sell? Not with this valuation and yield. … Conventional wisdom holds that tablets are cannibalizing computer sales. But have reports of the PC’s death been greatly exaggerated? The answer appears to be yes.
International Game Technology (NYSE: IGT) was raised to Neutral from Sell at Goldman Sachs. Meanwhile, it was downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at Wells Fargo.
PetSmart Inc. (NASDAQ: PETM) was downgraded to Sector Perform from Outperform with a $66 price target at RBC Capital Markets. This is after Merrill Lynch recently warned that the company’s stock is not trading at all in line with its fundamentals due to buyout hopes.
Time Warner Inc. (NYSE: TWX) was raised to Buy from Neutral at Guggenheim, and it was raised to Buy from Neutral at Janney Capital Markets. Merrill Lynch has decided to move from a Neutral rating to dropped coverage. Argus is raising its target to $100 on a deal likelihood.
Other analyst calls of interest were as follows:
- Mallinckrodt PLC (NYSE: MNK) was started as Outperform at Oppenheimer.
- Pier 1 Imports Inc. (NYSE: PIR) was started as Buy (versus $15.43 close) at Nomura.
- Range Resources Corp. (NYSE: RRC) was started as Buy with a $107 price target at Canaccord Genuity.
- Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. (NYSE: TMO) was started as Buy at Citigroup.
- Williams-Sonoma Inc. (NYSE: WSM) was started as Buy at Nomura.
In case you missed Wednesday’s top analyst upgrades and downgrades, they included shares of Apple, Intel, Nationstar, IMAX, Diageo and many more. J.P. Morgan also gave its top gold stocks to buy, with the driver being earnings surprises