Earnings season may be winding down, but we are still getting some key reports. Now traders and investors have to decide how to position their holdings for 2014. 24/7 Wall St. reviews dozens of research reports each morning to see the new research notes from Wall Street analysts as we are on the hunt to find new ideas for our readers. These are this Thursday's top analyst upgrades, downgrades and initiations seen from Wall Street research firms.
AECOM Technology Corp. (ACM) was defended by Argus after shares were hit hard on its earnings. The firm maintained a Buy rating and trimmed its target price by $1 to $36, making that target price the most bullish among the analysts covering AECOM. Shares closed at $28.95, and the stock was up above $31 before the most recent drop.
Cirrus Logic Inc. (CRUS) recently took it on the chin after the word spread that its chips were not present in the iPad Air. Sterne Agee is defending the stock by maintaining the Buy rating. Be advised that the firm did still lower earnings and sales estimates, and the price target was dropped to $24 from $28, versus the recent price of $19.24.
Cisco Systems Inc. (CSCO) managed to disappoint almost everyone with earnings, and this was after everyone should have lowered their expectations. Wedbush downgraded Cisco to Neutral from Outperform, and it lowered the price target to $23 from $26. Other firms, like Sterne Agee, Deutsche Bank and others, have trimmed targets as well. The big hammer came from Goldman Sachs, removing it from the prized Conviction Buy List. Goldman Sachs also dropped the price target to $25 from $30, based on earnings and guidance valuations. Cisco closed at $24.00, but shares were down more than 11% to around $21.25 in active premarket trading.
Lululemon Athletica Inc. (LULU) was downgraded to Underperform from an already cautious Neutral rating by Sterne Agee. The firm now believes that the current valuation of more than 27 times 2014 earnings estimates is not sustainable when the company is alienating its customers. Sterne Agee also now expects same-store sales deceleration in 2014, and it has established a downside price target of $56, versus a $68.98 closing price. Ouch!
Other analyst reports were as follows:
Banco Santander S.A. (SAN) was downgraded to Equal Weight from Overweight at Morgan Stanley.
Carlyle Group L.P. (CG) was raised to Buy from Neutral and the price target was raised to $36 from $33 (versus a $30.64 current) at Goldman Sachs.
International Rectifier Corp. (IRF) was started as Buy with a $30 price target at Drexel Hamilton.
Office Depot Inc. (ODP) was raised all the way to Buy from Underperform, with a new price target of $6.50 lifted from a prior target of $3.50, at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, now that it has merged with Office Max.
PGT Inc. (PGTI) was raised to Outperform from Neutral at Credit Suisse.
Royal Dutch Shell PLC (RDS-A) was raised to Neutral from Underperform at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
SanDisk Corp. (SNDK) was started as Buy with an $80 price target at Drexel Hamilton.
SolarCity Corp. (SCTY) was raised to Outperform from Neutral, and the price target was raised to $71 from $50, by R.W. Baird.
Sony Corp. (SNE) was raised to Overweight from Equal Weight at Morgan Stanley.
Total S.A. (TOT) was started as Outperform at Credit Suisse.
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