Analyst Stephen Anderson at Miller Tabak says things are looking up for Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, which Tuesday reported fiscal first-quarter earnings it said reflected the progress it's making in driving traffic. On top of that, continued cost management means it's time for investors to step in. "In our view, the retreat on Cracker Barrel's share price does not reflect weakness in the company's fundamentals, and thus we recommend buying on the decline," Anderson wrote in hiking his price target to $56 from $53.
LifePoint's planned acquisition through its JV with Duke Univeristy of a 102-bed nonprofit hospital in North Carolina is "a small positive," says Avondale Partners analyst Kemp Dolliver. But more importantly, Dolliver said, the deal adds to the momentum of the venture and gives LifePoint a bigger Tar Heel State platform on which to build. Dolliver is sticking to his 'outpeform' rating and $48 price target for LifePoint (Ticker: LPNT).
Rob Mains at Morgan Keegan has lowered his price target on shares of Brookdale Senior Living (Ticker: BKD) to $31 from $34 but has kept his rating at 'outperform.' Brookdale last week said it is buying a 90-community company in Florida.
Over at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Joe Buckley has taken his rating of Cracker Barrel Old Country Store (Ticker: CBRL) from 'buy' all the way to 'underperform.' Lebanon-based Cracker Barrel late last month missed on its Q1 numbers and said this quarter also will be below expectations.
Avondale Partners analyst Mark Montagna says Dollar General is poised to deliver better-than-expected first-quarter profits on June 1 and has raised his earnings per share estimate to 52 cents from 49 cents. Montagna cites a number of industry data points, including competitor Dollar Tree's recent earnings beat and the persistent drop in traffic at Walmart stores. The Street expects Dollar General (Ticker: DG) to post a 50-cent profit next week but Montagna says the Goodlettsville-based company "is capturing higher traffic, average ticket, units per transaction, and increased discretionary purchases."
Analyst Joe Buckley at Bank of America Merrill Lynch has lowered his price target for shares of Cracker Barrel Old Country Store to $55 from $61 after the Lebanon-based company (Ticker: CBRL) reported its fiscal Q3 numbers and said the next quarter will fall well short of the Street's outlook. Buckley, who's based in New York, also has lowered his fiscal '11 EPS estimates to the midpoint of Cracker Barrel's new guidance.