Investing

10 Unusual High-Profile Analyst Upgrades as Stocks Surge Into July: Akamai, Amazon,eBay, Shopify, Tesla & More

Constellation Is Back

Constellation Brands, Inc. (NYSE: STZ) had not been able to get out from under its own shadow until its shares surged 10% from the prior week based ahead of and after strong earnings despite bar sales being weak to non-existent. What was so unusual here, particularly as this had been a hated stock for some time, was that their was an “analyst pile-on” of target hikes: UBS to $208 from $192; Jefferies to $238 from $224; JPMorgan to $227 from $200.

Many others issued less aggressive target hikes. With shares having gone under $110 in March, it might seem like the analysts could have been more aggressive at some point between then and this week’s jump. That’s life though.

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eBay for Dividends and Cash Flow?

eBay Inc. (NASDAQ: EBAY) was not a formal analyst upgrade, but the stock was added to a list of high cash flow return on investment (CFROI) stocks at Credit Suisse on July 1 for the third quarter of 2020. Their view was that stock has attractive valuations, low market expectation, a new chief executive officer, higher share repurchases and growth in the digital payments arena.

While their official price target was just $53 on the stock, that CFROI model they used generated a cash flow theoretical target price of $65.92 just using that model. It also sets the stage for much higher dividend payments ahead. eBay was at $54.50 late on Thursday with a $49.50 consensus analyst target price and a street-high price target of $60.00.

Fort Who in Infrastructure & Housing?

Forterra, Inc. (NASDAQ: FRTA) could be seeing serious upside if that elusive infrastructure bill ever gets closer to becoming law. Forterra was raised to Buy from Hold by SunTrust Robinson Humphrey on July 2 and its price target was sent all the way to a street-high $19 target after having been at $12. What was unusual here is that infrastructure and housing-related winners are rarely given this much upside potential, and SunTrust’s noted called Forterra as an underappreciated pricing and margin expansion story with several catalysts that could drive 40% to 70% upside “within six months.”

Forterra shares were up just 3% at $12.20 late on Thursday, against a 52-week range of $3.45 to $15.42 and a consensus analyst target price of $11.60.

Herbalife is Changing

Herbalife Nutrition Ltd. (NYSE: HLF) was started with a Buy rating at Argus and the independent research firm issued a $54 price target on Thursday. While this was handily higher than the prior $44.96 closing price, Herbalife was up over 4.5% at $47.00 late on Thursday. It seemed unusual to get such a strong reaction considering that the 52-week high is $48.82, but what was even more unusual is that the consensus analyst target price was $57.67 ahead of the call.

It’s not normal to get such a strong pop on a sub-consensus target price. This was based on an expanded direction for overall health trends and new efforts.

Shopify Keeps Getting Chased

Shopify Inc. (NYSE: SHOP) is now worth $115 billion and is valued at roughly 40-times 2021 revenue expectations. While this is a key beneficiary of the secular digitization trends of the retail and service economy, Robert W. Baird joined the extreme bulls with a price target hike to $1,100 from $820 while maintaining an Outperform rating. Where this call looks very interesting is that Goldman Sachs had maintained its Neutral rating and raised its target to above $1,125 on June 29.

So how does an Outperform rating have a lower target than a Neutral rating? well, let’s just say it’s an issue of mechanics that varies from firm to firm when calculating upside versus ratings. Shopify shares recently hit an all-time high of more than $1,050 this week and its consensus analyst target price is not quite $800 at this time.

Southwest Can Fly Even Higher, Maybe

Southwest Airlines Co. (NYSE: LUV) may be healthier than the other airlines on the surface, but it is still an airline and is still struggling with quarantines and travel bans. On June 29, Goldman Sachs raised its rating to Buy with a $47 price target. What was so odd was that this was a double-upgrade as the prior rating had been Sell, and its prior price target was $35 ahead of the upgrade.

Southwest was close to $34.50 at the end of the week, and it has been in a $33 to $40 trading range for most of the last month.

Tesla Goes Into Beast Mode

Tesla, Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) was surging after beating second quarter delivery expectations, with its shares up over 8% at $1,210 late on Thursday after handily beating delivery targets. Wedbush Securities has just a Neutral rating, but the firm raised its official price target to $1,250 from $1,000 in the call.

What was so unusual was that Daniel Ives, the analyst behind the call, issued a bullish upside case up at $2,000 despite having just a Neutral rating. While the call goes far beyond Tesla’s electric car business, to have the most bullish target on Wall Street might at least have an Outperform rating had it been a routine call even if it may be the world’s most dominant automaker at this time.