Now that's an upgrade...
Analyst Brian Tanquilut at Jefferies has hiked his rating on shares of Community Health Systems to 'buy' from 'hold.' That's nothing too unusual, but the price target hike accompanying it was: Tanquilut now sees CHS (Ticker: CYH) climbing to $56, up from just $29. Despite the strong run by hospital stocks in recent months, he says there's plenty more in store — in part because companies are saying they "expect to be able to charge the new health care exchanges rates for patient treatment closer to what commercial insurers pay than to the much-lower reimbursements Medicare and Medicaid pay."
Michael Rose at Raymond James has gone the other way with shares of Pinnacle Financial Partners, lowering his rating to 'market perform' from 'outperform.' Pinnacle (Ticker: PNFP) closed Monday trading at $23.22 and is up more than 23 percent in 2013.
Paul Cheng is a fan.
The Barclays Capital analyst on Friday bumped his price target for shares of Delek US Holdings to $52 from $47. He made the move on the heels of word that a stock sale by Delek US' largest shareholder could grow to more than $400 million — and just days after he raised his target from $40. Delek (Ticker: DK) ended the week at $39 and change and are up 55 percent so far in 2013.
Shares of Genesco got a nice boost Wednesday from Stephanie Wissink at Piper Jaffray, who upgraded the retailer's stock to 'overweight' from 'neutral' and said investors should focus on the company's long-term earnings growth potential. Wissink also hiked her price target to $73 from $62 — the stock (Ticker: GCO) closed up 4 percent Wednesday at $62 — on the back of "stable gross margins and cost discipline."
In a guest commentary in Bloomberg Brief Wednesday, PMG Venture Group analyst Kristin Bentz says the recent tepid gains in consumer spending haven't come from masses of consumers opening their wallets but have instead been concentrated at the high end. Many middle-class consumers, she says, have traded down from mass merchants Walmart and Target to dollar stores such as Dollar General (Ticker: DG), which have increasingly become "de facto grocery stores" and which may never give up those customers now that they have them.
Analysts at Cantor Fitzgerald have begun covering shares of Acadia Healthcare with a 'buy' rating and a $35 price target that implies another 25 percent of upside from where the company (Ticker: ACHC) opened trading Tuesday. By Thomson/First Call's reckoning, the target is now the highest on the Street for Acadia. (Separately, Acadia execs said Tuesday they've wrapped up a $150 million debt raise and paid down $52 million in high-interest 2018 notes.)
In contrast, the sentiment is nowhere near as upbeat at Macquarie when it comes to Brookdale Senior Living. The firm's analysts launched coverage of the skilled-nursing provider with a 'neutral' rating in December but have already lowered their opinion to 'underperform.' We couldn't dig up any details as to whether it's a pure valuation call — the stock (Ticker: BKD) is up 15 percent year to date — or if there's more to the move.
Man, we're telling you, 2014 is setting up to be a monster year for hospitals.
Analysts at debt ratings agencies Standard & Poor's and Moody's last week said they see profit margins going nowhere this year but improving after that because 27 million people will enter the health insurance market. In the meantime, profit margins are going to be under pressure as hospitals continue to invest in technology, physician recruitment and acquisitions. Oh, and reimbursements are being cut, too. But just you wait until next year...
John Commins at HealthLeaders has more details.
Following Delek Logistics' first earnings report, two analysts following the infrastructure spinoff from Delek US Holdings have adjusted their view of its partner interests' valuation. Paul Cheng at Barclays says investors should continue to overweight Delek Logistics (Ticker: DKL) and has raised his price target to $33 from $26, saying the company's expected asset purchases will quickly boost its bottom line. Over at Wells Fargo, Roger Read isn't as enthusiastic and says the company's growth potential is being reflected in its current high-$20s valuation.
The analyst day hosted this week by Tractor Supply executives elicited a good bit of reaction Thursday. By our count, the score was 2-1 for the bulls. Both Aram Rubinson at Nomura and Alan Rifkin at Barclays Capital see a clear path to further upside for Tractor Supply shares courtesy of sales growth, share buybacks and other factors. Said Rubinson: "The new store program is steady at 8% and comps are driven by multi-dimensional merchandising and a lot of unused space. We lift our target to $120 from $110, reflecting a consistent growth trajectory through 2015 (was 2014)."
On the flip side, Brent Rystrom at Feltl felt compelled to tap the brakes, downgrading his Tractor Supply recommendation to 'hold' from 'strong buy.' The stock's valuation, he said, has gotten a bit stretched. Tractor Supply shares (Ticker: TSCO) closed Thursday trading at $103.82 and have climbed almost 20 percent year to date.
The analysts following Cracker Barrel Old Country Store have been busy of late hiking their numbers following the company's strong earnings report last month. The latest is John Staszak at Argus Research, who on Tuesday lifted his price target for the Lebanon-based restaurant and retail chain (Ticker: CBRL) to $88 from $78. But Rich Smith at The Motley Fool thinks the Street and investors are getting ahead of themselves a bit.
I was a bit ambivalent when Miller Tabak endorsed Cracker Barrel last week, because at 15.7 times earnings, but only 10% projected long-term earnings growth, the stock looked overvalued to me. Today, Argus is both arguing for a higher price target ($88 versus $81) and saying Cracker Barrel will get there from a higher starting point (16.3 times earnings versus 15.7). Needless to say, Argus is setting itself a higher hurdle on this one, and one more difficult to clear.
BMO Capital Markets analyst Stephen Atkinson kicked off his week by lifting his price target for shares of Louisiana-Pacific to $25 from $24. While it's not a huge move, it has helped the stock (Ticker: LPX) stay ahead of a lackluster market today. As of 1:35 p.m., the shares were up 1 percent to $22.52, putting them within 3 percent of their highest levels since the first few weeks of 2007. They've climbed 170 percent in the past year as housing market optimism has risen.
Analyst Mark Montagna at Avondale Partners says Genesco's fourth-quarter earnings report next week could bring with it some bad news as it relates to profit projections for the coming year. Traffic at malls took a big dive in January — Montagna says Genesco's execs may have underestimated the drop six weeks ago — which will hurt sales. On top of that, teens appear to be reining in their spending for the spring, the new payroll tax hike is hurting many other consumers and there isn't a fashion trend emerging to lure back consumers.
As a result, Montagna has lowered his full-year fiscal 2014 forecast to $5.50 per share from $5.60 and trimmed his same-store sales forecast for several of Genesco's divisions by one to two percentage points.
Comps will see less benefit from average selling price gains of flat to 3% vs. FY13 +5%-6%. A bigger issue is the lack of a trend to alter the decelerating comp trend at Lids.
The main reason Montagna says he's keeping his 'outperform' rating on Genesco's stock: Its low valuation, which is just 10 times the consensus forward earnings estimate. Also helping, he says, is his expectation that 30 percent of the coming year's EPS growth will come from stock buybacks.
Shares of the company (Ticker: GCO) are down slightly today to about $58.50. Year to date, it's up about 6 percent.
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