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Stocks were indicated slightly higher on Monday morning after a solid week put the markets within striking distance of all-time highs again. If there is one trend that has remained in place, it is that investors keep buying their favorite stocks during each pullback.
24/7 Wall St. reviews dozens of research reports from analysts each day in order to get new trading and investment ideas for its readers. Some analyst reports cover stocks to buy, and some cover stocks to sell or avoid.
These are this Monday’s top analyst upgrades, downgrades and initiations.
Allscripts Healthcare Solutions Inc. (NASDAQ: MDRX) was raised to Neutral from Underweight and the price target was raised to $12 from $9 (versus a $12.59 close) at Piper Jaffray.
Ameren Corp. (NYSE: AEE) was raised to Buy with a $49 target (versus a $42.32 close) at Argus.
American Express Co. (NYSE: AXP) was downgraded to Neutral from Buy and the price target was cut to $82 from $91 at Nomura.
Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) was started as Buy with a $160 price target (versus a $130.28 close) at Brean Capital. What should stand out here about this analyst call is that it is on the same morning as earnings, which are due after the close. 24/7 Wall St. has shown that Apple needs to have sold roughly 60 million iPhones in the quarter. Also, the formal earnings report is likely to be trumped by a dividend hike and larger stock buyback plan. Apple has a consensus analyst price target of $142.13, and the highest official analyst price target is up at $185.
ALSO READ: The 5 Most Shorted NYSE Stocks
Celladon Corp. (NASDAQ: CLDN) is down roughly 70% after its drug failed to meet primary and secondary endpoints. Roth Capital Partners downgraded the stock to Neutral from Buy with a $2 price target (versus a $13.68 close and less than $4 in the premarket). Wedbush Securities downgraded it to Neutral from Outperform, and the price target was slashed to $3 from $29 in the call.
DaVita HealthCare Partners Inc. (NYSE: DVA) was raised to Outperform from Neutral with a $95 price target (versus a $83.91 close) at Baird.
Helmerich & Payne Inc. (NYSE: HP) was raised to Buy from Neutral with a $85 price target at Goldman Sachs.
Marathon Oil Corp. (NYSE: MRO) was reiterated as Outperform at Credit Suisse, and the price target was raised to $36 from $32 (versus $30.33 close).
Marvell Technology Group Ltd. (NASDAQ: MRVL) was downgraded to Neutral from Buy and the price target was cut to $13.00 from $18.00 (versus a $14.31 close) Ladenburg Thalmann.
Newmont Mining Co. (NYSE: NEM) was raised to Outperform from Neutral and the price target was raised to $30 from $26 (versus a $24.98 close) at Credit Suisse.
ALSO READ: How Analysts Rate Amazon, Google Microsoft After Earnings
NRG Yield Inc. (NYSE: NYLD) was started as Hold with a $55 price target (versus a $51.36 close) at Evercore ISI.
Oclaro Inc. (NASDAQ: OCLR) was raised to Buy from Hold with a 43 price target (versus a $1.87 close) at Needham.
Oceaneering International Inc. (NYSE: OII) was downgraded to Neutral from Buy and its price target was cut to $58 from $62 at Goldman Sachs.
Procter & Gamble Co. (NYSE: PG) was downgraded to Underperform from Outperform at CLSA.
Quantum Fuel Systems Tech Worldwide Inc. (NASDAQ: QTWW) was started as Market Perform and with a $3.25 price target (versus a $2.90 close) at Cowen.
Stratasys Inc. (NASDAQ: SSYS) was downgraded to Hold from Buy and the price target was cut to $51 from $82 (versus a $51.28 close) at Canaccord Genuity. The firm warned that a lingering slowdown in the core business is likely to lead to additional estimate reductions, undermine confidence in the company’s long-term revenue growth target of 25%+ and lead to sustained multiple compression given an expectation for slower secular growth.
3D Systems Corp. (NYSE: DDD) was downgraded to Hold from Buy and the price target was cut to $27 from $50 (versus a $27.23 close) at Canaccord Genuity. As a reminder, 3D Systems warned on its guidance on Friday, and now we have a new 52-week low on Monday after shares slid to less than $27. The 3D Systems downgrade is based on lower expectations for long-term growth for the core business, based on the pre-announcement and feedback from resellers and other industry participants. The firm’s estimates were cut on the first quarter shortfall and lower expectations for growth through the 2016 forecast horizon.
Telecom Italia SpA (NYSE: TI) was downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
Texas Instruments Inc. (NASDAQ: TXN) was raised to Strong Buy from Market Perform with a $62 price target (versus a $54.73 close) at Raymond James.
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Travelers Companies Inc. (NYSE: TRV) was raised to Outperform from Market Perform and the price target was raised to $119 from $107 (versus a $103.95 close) at FBR Capital Markets. Investors might want to keep in mind that the 52-week high is $110.49 and the consensus analyst target price is $107.68. We would also point out that the prior street-high target is $117.
Twitter Inc. (NYSE: TWTR) was downgraded to Neutral from Buy and the price target was cut to $50 from $58 at SunTrust Robinson Humphrey. Twitter is expected to report earnings on Tuesday, which makes the timing of this downgrade a bit interesting.
YPF S.A. (NYSE: YPF) was raised to Overweight from Neutral with a $40 price target (versus a $30.15 close) at JPMorgan.
Xilinx Inc. (NASDAQ: XLNX) was reiterated as Buy with a $50 price target (versus a $42.88 close) at Argus.
Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS) was raised to Buy from Neutral at Guggenheim, and the price target was put at $127 (versus a $109.53 close). Investors should know that this $127 target price now counts as the street-high target as the prior highest call was listed as $126. Also, the consensus price target was $108.96 prior to this call.
24/7 Wall St. has shown how analysts are now rating Amazon, Google, and Microsoft after their earnings. This included new ratings and a summary on each report.
From this weekend, we have eight analyst stocks trading under $10 with massive upside price target calls. In case you missed out on Friday’s top analyst upgrades and downgrades, they included Amazon.com, Best Buy, Cisco Systems, Microsoft, Nike, Target, Weatherford International and more.
The Philips Ambilight – a bunch of rear-facing RGB LEDs taped to the back of a TV – is becoming the standard project for anyone beginning to tinker with FPGAs. [DrX]’s is the best one we’ve seen yet, with a single board that reads and HDMI stream, makes blinkey lights go, and outputs the HDMI stream to the TV or monitor.
[DrX] is using an FPGA development board with two HDMI connectors – the Scarab miniSpartan6+ – and a strand of WS2801 individually addressable RGB LEDs for this project. With a bit of level shifting, driving the LEDs was easily taken care of. But what about decoding HDMI?
Most of the project is borrowed from a project that displays a logo in the corner of a 720p video stream. The hardware is the same, but for an Ambilight clone, you need to read the video stream and process it, not just write to it. By carefully keeping track of the R, G, and B values for each pixel along with the pixel clock, the colors along the edge of a display can be averaged. It’s not as difficult or as memory-intensive as building a frame buffer; nearly all of the picture data is thrown out when assembling the averages around the perimeter of the display. It does work, though.
After figuring out the average color around the perimeter of the display, it’s just a simple matter of driving the LEDs. Tape those LEDs to the back of a TV, and there’s an Ambilight clone, made with an FPGA.
[DrX] has a few videos of his project in action. You can check those out below.
If you have not already signed up, go on over to uReddit or P2PU and join the online class to get weekly updates about each lesson as they are taught.
Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: Altera, Amazon, Chipotle, Halliburton, MGIC, Nokia, SAP, Teva and More
Stocks were down slightly on Wednesday, after two days of being indicated higher. The trend that has remained in place for almost four years now is that investors keep buying stocks on weakness. 24/7 Wall St. reviews dozens of research reports from analysts each day in order to get new trading and investment ideas for its readers. Some analyst reports cover stocks to buy, while others cover stocks to sell or avoid.
These are this Wednesday’s top analyst upgrades, downgrades and initiations.
Agrium Inc. (NYSE: AGU) was downgraded to Sell from Neutral with a $95 price target (versus a $105.14 close) at Citigroup.
Altera Corp. (NASDAQ: ALTR) was downgraded to Neutral from Overweight with a $42 price target (versus a $43.24 close) at Piper Jaffray.
Anadarko Petroleum Corp. (NYSE: APC) was started as Buy with a $104 price target (versus a $92.56 close) at Nomura.
Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) was raised to Buy from Neutral at a firm called Monness Crespi Hardt.
Apache Corp. (NYSE: APA) was started as Reduce with a price target of $63 (versus a $68.37 close) at Nomura.
Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. (NYSE: CMG) was downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at Raymond James. Sterne Agee reiterated its Buy rating and $766 price target. Credit Suisse maintained its Outperform rating but lowered its target price to $770 from $785.
Grupo Aval Acciones Y Valores S.A. (NYSE: AVAL) was raised to Buy from Neutral at Goldman Sachs.
ALSO READ: 8 Analyst Stocks Under $10 With Massive Upside Calls
Halliburton Co. (NYSE: HAL) was reiterated as Outperform and the price target was raised to $56 from $48 (versus a $47.05 close) at RBC Capital Markets.
Lam Research Corp. (NASDAQ: LRCX) was maintained as Sector Perform and the price target was lowered to $76 from $82 (versus a $77.84 close) at RBC Capital Markets.
Marathon Oil Corp. (NYSE: MRO) was started as Buy with a $36 price target at Nomura.
Masco Corp. (NYSE: MAS) was raised to Outperform from Market Perform and the price target was raised to $35 from $28 (versus a $26.35 close) at FBR Capital Markets.
MGIC Investment Corp. (NYSE: MTG) was reiterated as Market Perform but the price target was raised to $11 from $9 (versus a $10.47 close) at FBR Capital Markets.
Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) was raised to Overweight from Equal Weight at Barclays. Just this week we noted how reception to the Alcatel-Lucent buyout is starting to dry up.
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Packaging Corp. of America (NYSE: PKG) was raised to Buy from Hold but the price target was cut to $80 from $86 (versus a $69.02 close) at Deutsche Bank.
Regions Financial Corp. (NYSE: RF) was downgraded to Sector Perform from Outperform with a $11 price target (versus a $9.58 close) at RBC Capital Markets.
RSP Permian Inc. (NYSE: RSPP) was started as Buy with a $34 price target (versus a $28.24 close) at Wunderlich.
SAP A.G. (NYSE: SAP) was raised to Buy from Neutral at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
Tempur Sealy International Inc. (NYSE: TPX) was started as Outperform with a price target of $70 (versus a $57.88 close) at Wedbush.
Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. (NYSE: TEVA) was reiterated as Buy at Argus, but the price target was raised to $75 from $64 (versus a $64.16 close) based on better returns down the road from M&A activity.
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Yum! Brands Inc. (NYSE: YUM) was reiterated Buy and with a $95 target at Janney Capital Markets.
In case you missed out on Tuesday’s top analyst upgrades and downgrades, they were in shares of GE, IBM, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Encana, Halliburton, Rio Tinto, WhiteWave Foods and a dozen more companies.
Stocks gapped up at the open but quickly gave way. The Dow is currently off 56 pts and the SPX is down .28%. Utilities and REITs are getting hit again, along with most bonds. In fact, utilities are one of the worst performing groups this year, down 6.5%. Consumer discretion (i.e. retailers and restaurants) and healthcare are leading, up 5-7%. Commodities are broadly higher on the day. WTI crude oil is rebounding a bit from yesterday’s selloff, back up over $51/barrel. Brent crude, at $57/barrel, has seen its spread over WTI shrink quite a bit recently and that means lower gasoline prices for US consumers. Natural gas is up today but has fallen to $2.50/MMBtu from about $4.00/MMBtu a year ago. As I mentioned, bonds are lower and yields are up. The 5-year Treasury yield is up to 1.37% and the 10-year is trading at 1.93%.
Earnings season is upon us. S&P Capital IQ says first quarter total revenue for S&P 500 companies will likely fall 1.1% y/y , and earnings per share (EPS) will fall 3.1%. (As an aside, consensus EPS forecasts were roughly -5.5% just a week ago!) Five out of the 10 sectors will post negative growth, led by energy, consumer staples and utilities. Excluding energy, S&P 500 earnings would be up over 5%. The research firm notes the second half of the year will be stronger. Bulls are banking on a long-awaited boost in consumer spending, and also better economic data.
Bloomberg’s Consumer Comfort Index climbed last week to 47.9 from 46.2 in the prior week. That’s the highest level since May 2007. This is probably a reflection of a better job market and lower gasoline prices. Consumer balance sheets are stronger these days. The savings rate is up to a 2+ year high, and household debt levels are falling. In fact, the household debt to disposable income ratio is down to levels not seen since 2003.
The Assn. of Individual Investors Bullish (AAII) Sentiment Index has been very weak this year. The index, which surveys retail investors, has fallen from the low 50s to just 29 today. It’s now very close to the 1-year low of 27. So investors are very skeptical of this market. Note that the lowest index value during the financial crisis was 19, reached in March 2009 right before the market began to recover.
Intel (INTC) has broken off talks to acquire Altera (ALTR). Bloomberg ways Intel offered $54/share in cash for the company, which was rejected. Before the talks were reported by the media, Altera’s stock was trading around $35/share. So I guess a 50% premium wasn’t good enough for Altera.
Easy come, easy go. That is what the rumor mill around the world of mergers and acquisitions will tell you. The earlier reports that Intel Corp. (NASDAQ: INTC) was in talks to acquire Altera Corp. (NASDAQ: ALTR) appear to have come to nothing. This is likely to have a ripple effect in the related areas in the semiconductor space.
CNBC’s David Faber broke the news on Thursday morning that talks have ended, due to an inability to come to the right terms. What is interesting is the price that Faber talked about — he said in the low $50s, which means a $50.00 floor was likely.
24/7 Wall St. was always concerned about the reality of this rumored merger. The reason is regulatory oversight. Intel is considered the de facto king of processors in personal computers (PCs), and the company is currently selling its mobile chips at losses as it tries to catch up in the smartphone and tablet markets, around mobile Web use and the Internet of Things.
Another concern is that, as mentioned, this will create a ripple around the chip space. In some ways, it is fairly easy to argue that an acquisition by Intel would create a World War I reaction: if Intel mobilizes, then its rivals have to mobilize. This is why we considered the rumors about ARM Holdings PLC (NASDAQ: ARMH) and Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) as driven by the possibility of an Altera-Intel deal.
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The immediate fallout was also seen in Altera’s mirror-image competitor, Xilinx Inc. (NASDAQ: XLNX). If Altera was bought by Intel, then maybe another buyer would have wanted Xilinx. There was a slight market cap differential here: Xilinx is worth $11.1 billion and Altera is now worth just under $12 billion, after the sell-off.
On a net-net basis, the merger termination reports here have hurt the chip sector.
Altera is unsurprisingly down the most out of the chip companies. Its stock rose to $45 when the deal was announced, and was down to $42 by Wednesday’s close. Shares were last seen down 5.6% at $39.72, against a 52-week range of $30.47 to $45.00. Analysts have a consensus standalone price target of almost $38 for Altera. Shares were trading around $35 before the Intel rumors surfaced.
Xilinx shares were actually flat at $42.55, against a 52-week range of $36.24 to $53.75. Xilinx shares jumped from $39.98 to $42.32 after the Altera rumors surfaced, and the analyst consensus price target is $42.75.
ARM Holdings shares are down only $0.10 at $50.64, against a 52-week range of $37.75 to $54.64. American depositary shares were trading at $49 prior to Wednesday’s news pop that Apple might be interested in acquiring it. We have warned about some issues here in believing that merger rumor, although anything seems possible in M&A in tech these days. ARM has a consensus analyst price target of $56.65.
ALSO READ: Why Analysts Were Cold Toward an Intel-Altera Buyout
Intel shares were also lower on Thursday morning. Its stock was down 25 cents at $31.06, against a 52-week range of $25.74 to $37.90, and the consensus analyst target price is $34.61.
If you want a reference on what a $15 billion Altera buyout would mean for Intel, it would be easy for the company to do, if regulators were not an issue, as Intel’s market cap is $147 billion.
Easy come, easy go.
The technology rumor mill has been rather active lately. One big tech and hardware rumor of April is that ARM Holdings PLC (NASDAQ: ARMH) could be bought out. What the rumor really points to is that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) could be looking to acquire the company. Anything is possible, but at least some caution needs to be considered here. Investors also should consider that the fuel for this rumor may stem back to whether Intel Corp. (NASDAQ: INTC) really ends up acquiring Altera Corp. (NASDAQ: ALTR).
ARM is the current arms-sale model winner due to its designs being so dominant in smartphones, tablets the Internet of Things, servers, sensors and other embedded devices. It has dozens of key partners, and it will sell to any customer. What is key here, above and beyond that Apple could easily afford the company at any reasonable premium, is that ARM is fabless. It has roughly 3,300 employees and is based in the United Kingdom. Would Apple win by taking on a design shop, knowing that it is possible that other architecture and tech-IP could pass it up in the years ahead?
ALSO READ: 6 Top Tech Stocks to Buy Ahead of Earnings
ARM’s own profile notes that its customers reported that they had shipped 12 billion ARM-based chips in 2014, an increase of 16% on 2013. Just under half of those chips were said to be shipped into mobile devices, including smartphones and tablets, where ARM has a high market share. An increasing number of chips were shipped into new markets, including enterprise networking infrastructure and embedded intelligent devices, such as microcontrollers and chips for the Internet of Things.
An article from Motley Fool’s U.K. operations gave the logic on Tuesday as to why an Apple-ARM deal might make sense. At least that may be the start of the rumor mill.
The real issue goes right back to Intel and Altera. Investors are still wondering if, or when, a deal will be announced. This merger could easily bring more challenges competitively in what is already a highly competitive chip and processor market globally. The recent collaborative efforts between Intel and Micron Technology Inc. (NASDAQ: MU) just add that much fuel to the fire.
One additional issue in an Apple-ARM deal, and in an Intel-Altera deal, is regulatory hurdles in the United States, Europe and elsewhere. The European Union, which may have different goals than the United Kingdom, seems absolutely emphatic on being as protectionist as it can get away with. Quite simply, it looks as though European regulators are doing everything they can to bide time for European technology companies to keep relevance in the ever-changing world of technology. Have you wondered about all those billions of euro fines that Europe is trying to milk out of U.S. technology giants?
ALSO READ: Ahead of Earnings, Which Chip Stock Is Best Positioned?
Apple is the world’s largest company by market capitalization at $731 billion. Some analysts have already hinted that Apple could become the world’s first $1 trillion company. The Dow Jones Industrial Average recently added Apple to its list of 30 giants, so obviously it is hoping that Apple can carry the day to much higher values. Oh, and those bullish analysts are modeling Apple’s growth on a standalone basis rather than with major acquisitions.
What Apple would secure here, if it were to acquire ARM, is a leadership position in the architecture and intellectual property around processors and systems on a chip and the like. Still, being so dominant in the end consumer products might draw a line in the sand with other consumer electronics companies — back to those regulatory concerns.
ARM’s American depositary shares were up almost 4% at $50.70 on about 1.9 million shares after about 90 minutes of trading in New York. The stock has a 52-week range of $37.75 to $54.64, and a consensus price target of $56.65. ARM’s current market cap of $23.7 billion is certainly not too large for Apple. It would also be a way for Apple to use some of its cash that is locked up overseas without having to worry about any 35% repatriation tax.
The question is how much a company will pay to buy $1.3 billion in total revenues from last year. Some $497 million came from licensing, and $535 million came from royalty collections. Thomson Reuters has consensus revenue estimates of $1.47 billion in 2015 and $1.69 billion in 2016. With Apple expected to have revenues of $226 billion in 2015, does spending $23 billion to $30 billion justify adding only another $2 billion in annual revenues in the coming years?
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