The week of April 8 was quite choppy for the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA), closing down 1.2% from the prior week at 17,576.96. Earnings season is coming up, with several of the 30 Dow stocks poised to report earnings. Analysts are concerned that this earnings season could be the worst quarterly comparisons since the end of the recession. Goldman Sachs even worries now that good economic news is bad news is for stocks.
24/7 Wall St. is always looking for new investing ideas for its readers. We review dozens of analyst calls each day, which becomes hundreds of analyst calls each week. There are generally many key analyst reports covering the top Dow stocks as well.
We decided to highlight Dow stocks with key analyst changes this week. Some calls were cautious, and some were bullish.
Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) saw its estimates and target cut at BTIG on April 6, based on longer upgrade cycles and a more conservative outlook. The firm cut 10 million units out of its 2016 and 2017 estimates while leaving its estimate of 50 million iPhones sold in the March quarter. Revenue targets were trimmed for the Apple Watch after recent price cuts, which should not be offset by higher volumes. BTIG did maintain its Buy rating but lowered its target price to $130 from $141 in the call. The report said:
The impact of these changes resulted in a $0.54 cut in our Fiscal 2016 EPS estimate to $8.87 and a $0.53 cut in our Fiscal 2017 EPS estimate to $9.57. Both estimates are now below consensus. We are cutting our price target to $130 from $141 based on 13.5x (was 14.0x) our new Fiscal 2017 EPS estimate, but are maintaining our Buy.
If readers want to go back to the usual bullishness side of Apple, a rival call was made on April 6. It was started as Strong Buy at Needham with price target of $150. Credit Suisse also added Apple to its Focus List and raised its target price to $150 from $140.
Apple closed out the week with a weekly price drop of just over 1% at $108.66. Still, its high for the week was $112.19. Apple’s 52-week range is $92.00 to $134.54 and its consensus analyst price target is $134.21.
Chevron Corp. (NYSE: CVX) managed to snag two positive analyst views this past week. The oil giant is positioned to generate the highest organic production growth among its peers with the most dramatic cash cycle inflection in the sector. That is the view of Jefferies, with the firm having a price target to $110. Jefferies sees Chevron’s free cash flow generation improving significantly through 2018 via a combination of lower capital spending, production growth and margin expansion.
This Jefferies call implied upside of about 17% from the price level, and shares closed out the week at $96.34, versus $94.02 on Monday. Its consensus analyst price target is $97.84, with a 52-week trading range of $69.58 to $112.20.
Elsewhere, the firm Tudor Pickering was very negative on the oil patch late in the week. Chevron was the exception. Tudor Pickering said Chevron will have margin growth and it sees higher free cash flows from the LNG projects in Australia. Chevron was also touted for its top position in the still wildly profitable Permian Basin. That being said, Tudor Pickering did note that Chevron will need to borrow or sell more assets to cover dividend ambitions ahead.
Cisco Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: CSCO) took a key downgrade from Bank of America Merrill Lynch on April 5, losing a long-time bull in this report, at least on the surface. Cisco was downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Merrill Lynch. As far as why we say “on the surface,” it is because the firm’s price target for the stock was raised to $30 from $27.00, compared to a consensus price target of $28.68.
Cisco’s 52-week trading range is $22.46 to $29.90. Its prior close was $28.14, and Cisco closed out the week at $27.69.
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