Now that the first-quarter earnings barrage is mostly past us, many top Wall Street firms we cover are making adjustments to the list of top stock recommendations for clients. Not surprisingly, earnings (or a lack thereof), forward guidance and valuations all come into play when the top brokerages make changes.
In a new report, Stifel makes some big changes to the firm’s Analyst Select List. Seven companies are added to the list and 13 are removed. We screened the additions for the stocks with the largest upside to the Stifel price targets. All the selections are rated Buy.
This company recently received the 2014 North American Distributor of the Year Award from EMC. This was reportedly not the first time that Arrow Electronics Inc. (NYSE: ARW) has received this exclusive recognition. The company is a global provider of products, services and solutions to industrial and commercial users of electronic components and enterprise computing solutions. It serves as a supply channel partner for more than 100,000 original equipment manufacturers, contract manufacturers and commercial customers through a global network of more than 460 locations in 56 countries.
The Stifel team likes the potential for upward earnings revisions in the upcoming quarters. They also feel that at nine times forward estimated earnings, the company is not getting credited for growth and margin expansion possibilities.
The Stifel price target for the stock is $70. The Thomson/First Call consensus price target is $65.63. The stock closed Friday at $62.78 a share.
This company posted solid first-quarter earnings and two Wall Street firms immediately downgraded its shares. Knight Transportation Inc. (NYSE: KNX) is a provider of multiple truckload transportation services using a nationwide network of service centers in the United States to serve customers throughout North America. In addition to operating one of the country’s largest tractor fleets, Knight also partners with third-party equipment providers to provide a broad range of truckload services to its customers.
The Stifel team points out that the company has grown earnings at compounded annual growth rate of a very respectable 16% between 2009 and 2014. They also applaud the company’s acquisitions and internal growth.
Investors are paid a small 0.8% dividend. Stifel has a $38 price objective and the consensus price target is $35.71. Shares closed Friday at $29.67 apiece.
Madison Square Garden
Famous for the Manhattan building that is a real estate and sports icon, the stock was recently upgraded at Stifel and jumps to the Analysts Select list. The Madison Square Garden Co. (NASDAQ: MSG), which owns the New York Knicks and the NBA team’s home arena, recently announced it plans to split its businesses into two publicly traded companies, a move widely expected and aimed at giving its units flexibility to pursue their own strategies. The planned move, expected to be completed later this year, would separate its sports and entertainment unit from the media business. It will be structured as a tax-free spin-off of the sports and entertainment business to MSG shareholders.
The Stifel team likes the move, and they feel that the individual companies can focus on their respective businesses and very possibly have operational and financial catalysts in front of them.
The Stifel price target is $100, and the consensus target is $97.17. The stock closed Friday at $84.08.
This real estate investment trust (REIT) once again posted strong quarterly earnings and also guided forward estimates higher. Ventas Inc. (NYSE: VTR) has a diverse portfolio of more than 1,600 assets in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, consisting of seniors housing communities, medical office buildings, skilled nursing facilities, hospitals and other properties. Through its Lillibridge subsidiary, Ventas provides management, leasing, marketing, facility development and advisory services to highly rated hospitals and health systems throughout the United States.
The Stifel team note that Ventas is actively engaged in strategic value creation initiatives, such as the announced spin-off of the majority of its skilled nursing assets. They feel that focusing on the large-scale operators and private pay will speed growth and improve the valuation distance between the company and health care REIT peers.
Ventas shareholders are paid a 3.4% distribution. The Stifel price target is a hefty $80, and the consensus target is $78.08. The shares closed Friday at $69.40.
The new Stifel additions are hardly momentum darlings. What they are for investors is solid companies with the kind of years of growth and performance that long-term growth portfolios should include.