Shares of Healthways (Ticker: HWAY) are up more than 12 percent in the last of hour of trading today after Dougherty & Co. analyst Brooks O'Neil lifted his rating on the company to 'buy' from 'neutral' and said he sees the stock climbing to $20. The move came after Healthways published its second-quarter profits and said it expects to put up better margins for the rest of this year. "We still believe the earning power of the business far exceeds its current level and we think the presence of the agitator group (now with 3 board seats) has put incremental pressure on management to deliver solid results this year," O'Neil wrote. "Our thinking has evolved over the past few months to include a realization that there is limited downside and potentially positive upside here."
Also benefiting from a post-earnings analyst call is Tractor Supply. Feltl & Co. analyst Brent Rystrom now rates the stock a 'buy' instead of a 'hold,' and Rystrom now sees the Tractor Supply shares (Ticker: TSCO) headed to $68 from their Wednesday close of $61.07.
Analyst Stephen Scouten at Sandler O'Neill has raised his rating on shares of Pinnacle Financial Partners to 'buy' from 'hold' after the bank holding company reported its second-quarter numbers. The move by Scouten is based on the valuation of Pinnacle, which is off about 10 percent from its recent highs (Ticker: PNFP) but is still up about 15 percent so far in 2014.
Kevin Reynolds at Wunderlich Securities has raised his price target for shares of Pinnacle Financial Partners to $40 from $37 after the bank holding company reported its Q2 numbers. Reynolds says investors shouldn't put too much stock in the earnings beat because of a smaller loan loss provision, but he nonetheless likes Pinnacle's long-term prospects. Pinnacle shares (Ticker: PNFP) closed Thursday trading at $36.05 and are up 11 percent so far in 2014.
At Robert W. Baird, analyst Richard Eastman has hiked his rating on Clarcor shares to 'outperform' from 'neutral,' citing better fundamentals, the benefit of recent acquisitions and a decent valuation. He sees Clarcor (Ticker: CLC), which closed Thursday at $60.46, climbing to $67 in the coming quarters.
Jefferies & Co. analyst Brian Tanquilut sees bigger things coming from HCA Holdings' positive earnings preview this week. He thinks that "HCA's strong cash flows open up opportunities for stock-enhancing capital deployment" such as acquisitions or share buybacks. (The company late last year spent $500 million to repurchase some of its stock.) Tanquilut also lifted his price target for HCA to $72 from $70.
Veteran Wells Fargo analyst Gary Lieberman says the guidance raise by HCA Holdings Wednesday looks to be on the conservative side given that the benefits of health care reform aren't going to end anytime soon. He has reiterated his 'outperform' rating on shares of HCA, which jumped 10 percent (Ticker: HCA) to a record high. On the flip side, Paula Torch at Avondale tells Investor's Business Daily that HCA is proving (again) to be best in class.
Analysts at Goldman Sachs have begun formally covering Brookdale Senior Living, which last week got shareholder approval to close its big purchase of Emeritus. The firm has a 'buy' rating and a $44 price target for the stock (Ticker: BKD), which $34.14 and is up about 2 percent today.
Brian Nagel at Oppenheimer has cut his price target for Tractor Supply shares to $60 from $70. The move comes a few days after several other analysts made similar moves on the heels of Tractor Supply's second-quarter earnings warning. At around 12:30 p.m.. Wednesday, Tractor Supply (Ticker: TSCO) was down slightly to about $60.85.
Looking ahead to HealthStream's second-quarter earnings report, Richard Close at Avondale Partners says he won't be surprised if the company's strong subscriber growth slowed. The culprit is likely to be the cloudy outlook during the quarter around the implementation of the new ICD-10 diagnosis and procedure code. But with an Oct. 1, 2015, deadline now in place, Close says investors should get some clarity from CEO Bobby Frist. He expects HealthStream to post pro forma earnings per share of 7 cents, a penny less than the Street's consensus. Shares of the company (Ticker: HSTM) rose slightly to $22.89 Monday but are down about 30 percent so far in 2014.
Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Joe France has lifted his price target on shares of Community Health Systems to $45 from $42. That gives investors a little bit of upside in the Franklin-based hospital operator — which opened trading this morning (Ticker: CYH) at $42.91 — but still leaves France well short of the $50 median price target for the company.
So it looks like the damage from Tractor Supply's profit warning won't amount to much more than a scrape.
Despite word from Tractor Supply executives that a number of customers held off on some seasonal purchases, numerous analysts following the agriculture and ranch products retailer are urging investors to stay the course or even add to their positions. Here's a quick rundown:
• Coming out with an upgrade to 'outperform' from 'neutral' is Gary Balter at Credit Suisse. The drop in Tractor Supply's shares, he says, gives investors a chance to pick up a company that is "superbly" positioned for growth at a better-than-before valuation. Balter's new price target is $70, down from $74.
• Simeon Gutman at Morgan Stanley has reiterated his 'equalweight' rating but cut his target to $65 from $70. He calls Tractor Supply's miss "not awful in an absolute sense" and not enough to damage the company's long-term growth story.
• At UBS Securities, Michael Lasser lowered his price target for the Brentwood-based company to $70 from $80 but kept his 'buy' rating, expecting customers to eventually follow through with sales that have been deferred.
• JPMorgan's Christopher Horvers and RBC Capital's Scott Ciccarelli also both say the drop is a buying opportunity.
• Bucking the trend is Mark Miller at William Blair, who has cut his Tractor Supply rating from 'outpeform' to 'market perform.'
The generally soothing tones from the Street appear to be working: After opening down more than 5 percent, Tractor Supply shares (Ticker: TSCO) were down 2.2 percent to $60 on the nose at about 11 a.m.
UBS Securities analyst A.J. Rice says HCA's second-quarter profits won't look great at first blush — comparisons with year-ago numbers will be tough for a number of reasons — but adds that he's heartened by executives' positive tone earlier this quarter. Rice has lifted his price target for the stock of Nashville's largest company (Ticker: HCA) to $67 from $58 and is optimistic hospital operators will say they're benefiting nicely from health insurance reform. HCA shares fell almost 2 percent Tuesday to $54.52 but are up about 15 percent year to date.
There are far fewer reasons to be optimistic for Louisiana-Pacific investors these days, judging by the moves of analysts at Dundee Securities and RBC Capital Markets. At the first firm, Steve Atkinson on Tuesday launched coverage of the construction materials manufacturer with a 'sell' rating and $13 price target, which is 14 percent below where LP shares (Ticker: LPX) began trading yesterday. Atkinson's main reason is a price war that will hurt margins and has him projecting a Q2 loss that stands in sharp contrast to the consensus. At RBC, Paul Quinn has cut his rating to 'sector perform' from 'outperform' and sees LP shares climbing back to only $16 in the coming quarters.