Chris Rigg at Susquehanna Financial dinged shares of LifePoint Hospitals and Vanguard Health Systems Wednesday morning, downgrading them both to 'neutral' from positive.' But the call's effect was short lived: Vanguard (Ticker: VHS) initially was down some 8 percent but has clawed its way back. LifePoint (Ticker: LPNT) opened down more than 2 percent and is only slightly in the red heading toward the last hour of trading.
Wedbush analyst Joan Storms says home goods retailer Kirkland's can grow its numbers if it can avoid merchandise misses and if the broader economy cooperates. She has launched coverage of the company's shares (Ticker: KIRK) with a 'neutral' rating and a $12 price target. The stock is down almost 20 percent this year.
The analyst gathering Dollar General hosted Tuesday has ratcheted up the optimism of at least two researchers following the booming discount retailer. Charles Grom at Deutsche and Joan Storms at Wedbush have hiked their price target for Dollar General to $61 and $60, respectively. Grom sees a number of positive dynamics enabling the company to grow earnings at a heady clip. Shares of Dollar General (Ticker: DG) closed Wednesday trading at $54.02.
A number of analysts covering Tractor Supply have raised their price targets for the specialty retailer's shares, which already are up more than 40 percent this year. Joan Storms at Wedbush Securities sees the stock climbing to $112 on the back of the powerful combination of strong execution and continued growth potential. And Brent Rystrom at Feltl now rates Tractor Supply a 'buy' and has lifted his target to $105 from $91.
Two researchers following Corrections Corp. of America have recently gone in different directions on the prison operator. At Barclays Capital, Manav Patnaik has lifted his price target to $33 from $30 and reiterated his 'overweight' rating. But over at First Analysis, Todd Van Fleet sees the steady 2012 climb of CCA stock (Ticker: CXW) as a reason to lighten up. He has lowered the stock to 'equalweight' from 'overweight.'
A couple of analysts have already reacted to the second-quarter profit report of Tractor Supply, which topped expectations but came up a bit short on the top line. Along those conflicted lines, their recommendations differ, too: Feltl & Co.'s Brent Rystrom has lowered his rating to 'hold' from 'buy' and tweaked his price target to $67.95 from $69.75. But Joan Storms at Wedbush Securities is sticking to her 'outperform' rating and has actually raised her target to $75 from $73. Shares of Tractor Supply (Ticker: TSCO) are down 4 percent to roughly $67.80.
Community Health Systems' acquisition of a Scranton, Pa., hospital system is a good sign, says Avondale Partners analyst Kemp Dolliver, and shows that the company "isn't completely 'radioactive' as a buyer." But it's not enough, Dolliver added, for him to upgrade CHS shares from his 'market perform' rating: "We remain on the sidelines on the concerns overhanging the stock related to the government's investigation of the company's Medicare billing practices." CHS (Ticker: CYH) is up more than 2 percent this morning but down more than 25 percent so far this year.
Management's introduction of more discretionary merchandise this fall adds a little more risk to the story, but discretionary is a relatively small part of total sales so the risk is modest. We see the stock moving higher if strong 3Q results lead to higher earnings estimates for 2011, if the market grants the entire group a "growth" multiple, and if the float in the stock goes up.Two more firms have reacted to Tractor Supply's higher earnings guidance. Wedbush Securities' Joan Storms, who rates the Brentwood retailer's stock (Ticker: TSCO) at 'outperform,' has lifted her price target to $52, some 15 percent above the stock's current all-time highs. Matthew Fassler at Goldman Sachs also has hiked his target, but only to $41. He still says investors should sell Tractor Supply.
As part of a sector upgrade, Wedbush Morgan analyst Joan Storms has raised her rating of Tractor Supply shares to 'outperform,' pointing out that the company will have relatively easy 2010 sales comparisons because it will be comparing its performance to 2009 numbers that were pushed down by deflationary pressures. Oh, and the harsh winter likely won't hurt, either.
As far as timing, we point out that Q1 is the “get ready” quarter and can be impacted by weather. Thus far, we think colder winter weather has been positive, but we will see what March has to bring.Storms has raised her price target for Tractor Supply (Ticker: TSCO) to $62, about 13 percent above its Thursday close.
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