SunTrust Says Buy These 3 High-Profile Stocks Hit Hard After Earnings

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Sometimes the best entry point for a stock you have been waiting to buy is when it either has a poor earnings quarter or gives guidance that disappoints. This is especially true if the companies are well-known leaders in their respective arenas and have the ability to turn things around. Sometimes the only downside to buying weakness is it may take some time for the sentiment to turn back around.

In three separate research reports, the analysts at SunTrust Robinson Humphrey stand by their calls on three very good companies that just posted either disappointing numbers or guidance that left Wall Street less than thrilled. The analysts not only stand by their respective calls but offer some good reasons why.

Akamai Technologies

This company posted solid inline second-quarter numbers, but the guidance stunned Wall Street. Akamai Technologies Inc. (NASDAQ: AKAM) is the self-described global leader in content delivery network (CDN) services, Akamai makes the internet fast, reliable and secure for its customers. The company’s advanced web performance, mobile performance, cloud security and media delivery solutions are revolutionizing how businesses optimize consumer, enterprise and entertainment experiences for any device, anywhere.

Akamai guided current-quarter profit and sales estimates lower as customers such as Apple and Facebook moved more media traffic to their own networks. SunTrust feels that beyond these big customers and their do-it-yourself moves, the company posted solid top-line growth, which came in the mid-teens range. The firm also points out the company remains well capitalized and can continue share repurchase, with the CEO leading the way with his personal repurchase plan. While the stock was hammered, the analysts feel that the long-term thesis for owning the company remains in place.

The SunTrust price target for the stock is $66, and the Wall Street consensus target is $62.25. Shares closed Wednesday down over 13% to $50.51.

Ashland

This top company reported earnings that were below estimates and guidance that was less than thrilling. Ashland Inc. (NYSE: ASH) operates as a specialty chemicals company worldwide. Its Specialty Ingredients segment provides products, technologies and resources for solving formulation and product-performance challenges. This segment serves pharmaceutical companies; makers of personal care products, food and beverages; manufacturers of paint, coatings and construction materials; packaging and converting markets; and oilfield service companies.

The Performance Materials segment offers composites, such as polyester and vinyl ester resins, gelcoats, molten maleic anhydride and low-profile additives, as well as intermediates and solvents. The Valvoline segment produces and distributes automotive, commercial and industrial lubricants and also automotive chemicals. It offers lubricants and automotive chemicals under the Valvoline brand; lubricants for cars with higher mileage engines under the MaxLife brand; synthetic motor oil under the SynPower brand; and antifreeze products under the Zerex brand. This segment also operates and franchises approximately 940 Valvoline Instant Oil Change centers in the United States.

The SunTrust team notes that the earnings miss was driven by weak emerging region demand for personal care ingredients. They also pointed out that the company didn’t offer fiscal fourth-quarter or full-year guidance, yet another reason for investors to sell. While the numbers for the full year may come in at more like $6.95 per share than the current consensus of $7.13 per share, that is still keeping the company at a reasonable 16.5 times earnings.

Ashland investors receive a 1.36% dividend. SunTrust maintains its $135 target price, and the consensus target is $131.38. Shares closed Wednesday down almost 7% to $113.56.

Under Armour

This apparel leader was absolutely mauled this week and could have huge upside for investors. Under Armour Inc. (NYSE: UA) bills itself as the originator of performance footwear, apparel and equipment that has revolutionized how athletes across the world dress.

Designed to make all athletes better, the brand’s innovative products are sold worldwide to athletes at all levels. The Under Armour Connected Fitness platform powers the world’s largest digital health and fitness community through a suite of applications: UA Record, MapMyFitness, Endomondo and MyFitnessPal.

Under Armour shares bombed after second-quarter earnings results that showed revenue growth but a year-over-year earnings slide. The shares are down 17% for the past year. The company announced plans to sell its new sportswear line in high-end outlets and add distribution through Kohl’s stores in 2017, while focusing on international expansion.

The SunTrust team remains very positive on margins pressure being reduced as they see the shift toward footwear and the increased international expansion as long-term positives for the company. Footwear grew a sizzling 58% last quarter while apparel was up 19%. They also view the guidance as conservative, which is another plus.

SunTrust has a $55 price target, but the consensus target was unavailable. Shares closed most recently at $39.72, down almost 4%.

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Buying top companies that have a bad quarter makes sense for long-term investors. All three of these stocks have solid long-term track records and should rebound smartly as the domestic and international economies improve.