Investment Analysts’ Ratings Reiterations for September, 30th (AAP, APC, AXS, BPL, CFX, DDD, DRE, HBHC, HP, MRH)
Advance Auto Parts (NYSE:AAP) had its neutral rating reissued by analysts at Zacks. Zacks currently has a $86.00 price target on the stock. Zacks’ analyst wrote, “Advance Auto Parts aims to improve its supply chain by pursuing an aggressive store expansion strategy. In 1H13, the company opened 82 stores. Further, an aggressive share repurchase policy is expected to boost its earnings per share. The company’s earnings increased 18.7% to $1.59 per share in the second quarter, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.48 per share. However, an uncertain economic environment, volatile gasoline prices and pricing competition are some challenges the company is facing. As such, we continue to recommend the shares as Neutral and set a target price of $86.00.”
Anadarko Petroleum Corp. (NYSE:APC) had its neutral rating reissued by analysts at Zacks. The firm currently has a $99.00 price target on the stock.
AXIS Capital Holdings (NYSE:AXS) had its neutral rating reiterated by analysts at Zacks. They currently have a $45.00 target price on the stock. Zacks’ analyst wrote, “AXIS Capital’s second-quarter 2013 earnings per share lagged the Zacks Consensus Estimate as well as the year-ago numbers. Top-line improvement was more than offset by increase in expenses, inducing a year-over-year decline. The Insurance and Reinsurance segment posted a solid premium increase. However, both the underwriting income and combined ratio deteriorated. This was attributable to the brunt of catastrophe activities. Nevertheless, we expect new business generation and platform expansion to aid the company’s top-line growth going forward. Weak interest rate environment might, on the other hand, weigh on the positives in spite of a solid capital position, strong scores with the credit rating agencies, and continued focus on enhancing shareholder value. We thus retain our Neutral recommendation. “
Buckeye Partners (NYSE:BPL) had its neutral rating reissued by analysts at Zacks. Zacks currently has a $69.00 price target on the stock. Zacks’ analyst wrote, “Buckeye Partners recorded year-over-year earnings increase in the second quarter of 2013 on the back of robust pipeline and terminal business, as well as international operations. The partnership’s Perth Amboy terminal project and Chicago storage facility secured lucrative long-term contracts. Buckeye’s BORCO storage expansion project is also on schedule for completion. The partnership is poised to benefit from these multiple investments in the coming years. In addition, the positive tariff-rate increase effective from Jul 2013 will act as a primary top-line driver. However, threat of service disruption owing to harsh storms and weakening of petroleum products and diesel prices, might prove challenging. We retain our Neutral recommendation on the stock.”
Colfax Corp (NYSE:CFX) had its neutral rating reissued by analysts at Zacks. Zacks currently has a $59.00 target price on the stock. Zacks’ analyst wrote, “Colfax Corporation’s earnings per share for the second quarter 2013 came in at $0.54, up 60.0% year over year and $0.01 above the Zacks Consensus Estimate. Revenue grew 2.7% due to solid contributions from acquisitions, more than offsetting weakness in organic business and negative foreign currency translation impact. Backlogs were strong at the end of the quarter while orders were down year over year. Adjusted operating margin expanded 160 basis points to 10.9%. Going forward, acquisitions are anticipated to play a key role. Upon completion of the acquisition of the Global Infrastructure and Industry (GII) business of Flakt Woods Group, Colfax’s Howden business will be strengthened further with the addition of GII’s broad product portfolio and large customer base. Despite all the positives, risks arising from competition, foreign currency translation, among others raises our concern. Thus at current levels, we maintain a Neutral recommendation on the stock.”
3D Systems Corp. (NYSE:DDD) had its underperform rating reiterated by analysts at William Blair.
Duke Realty Corp. (NYSE:DRE) had its neutral rating reiterated by analysts at Zacks. The firm currently has a $17.00 price target on the stock. Zacks’ analyst wrote, “Duke Realty’s second-quarter 2013 core FFO per share came in line with the Zacks Consensus Estimate, but moved up on year-over-year basis. This was aided by increased rental revenues, along with decline in general and administrative expenses. The company’s portfolio repositioning efforts to focus more on bulk industrial business in key markets also strengthened its financials. In addition, the raised lower end of the 2013 core FFO per share guidance was encouraging. Moreover, the company has a relatively healthy balance sheet with adequate liquidity. Yet, its large development pipeline and exposure to weak office markets increases operational risks. Moreover, the rising interest rates and capital market volatility remain matters of concern. Therefore, we maintain our Neutral recommendation on the stock. “
Hancock Holding (NASDAQ:HBHC) had its neutral rating reiterated by analysts at Zacks. The firm currently has a $32.50 target price on the stock. Zacks’ analyst wrote, “Hancock’s second-quarter 2013 earnings were in line with the Zacks Consensus Estimate. Results benefited from a marginal rise in fee income and a decline in operating expenses. However, lower net interest income and increased provision for loan losses were the headwinds. Further, credit quality and capital ratios were mixed, while profitability ratios deteriorated. Going forward, we expect Hancock to be successful with respect to its organic and inorganic growth strategies, backed by a stable liquidity position. Moreover enhanced capital deployment activities are anticipated to raise investors’ confidence in the stock. However, persistently rising operating expenses, a still low interest rate environment and increased regulations will likely marginally dent the company’s performance in the near term.”
Helmerich & Payne (NYSE:HP) had its neutral rating reiterated by analysts at Zacks. Zacks currently has a $73.00 price target on the stock. Zacks’ analyst wrote, “We are maintaining our Neutral recommendation on Helmerich & Payne, reflecting a balanced risk/reward profile. The company is a leading drilling contractor with activities in the U.S. and overseas. Supported by a superior and diversified drilling fleet, together with a healthy financial profile, we expect Helmerich & Payne to sustain its profitability over the foreseeable future. We believe its technologically-advanced FlexRigs will continue to benefit from an upswing in U.S. land drilling activity and the shift to complex onshore plays that require highly intensive solutions. However, slow activity levels and the challenging U.S. land rig environment remain areas of concern. “
Montpelier Re Holdings (NYSE:MRH) had its neutral rating reissued by analysts at Zacks. Zacks currently has a $28.00 target price on the stock. Zacks’ analyst wrote, “Montpelier’s second-quarter earnings per share surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate as well as the year-ago earnings. The quarter experienced solid underwriting results. Both the Bermuda and London platforms delivered strong profitability. Montpelier continued the trend of outperforming expectations despite catastrophe occurrences and competitive market, riding on the strength of underwriting results. However, premiums declined compared with the year-ago numbers. Nevertheless, the company remains well positioned to deliver solid numbers going forward, given its increased exposure in the property catastrophe lines of business. In addition, focusing on underwriting operations, augmenting capital flexibility, and strengthening its competitive position augur well going forward. It also expanded underwriting partnerships with the launch of the Blue Capital asset management platform in December last year. Moreover, it remains focused on enhancing shareholder value. The company also benefits from tax exemptions in Bermuda. “
Vail Resorts (NYSE:MTN) had its buy rating reiterated by analysts at Bank of America Corp.. Bank of America Corp. currently has a $76.00 target price on the stock, up from their previous target price of $72.00. The analysts wrote, “Following solid season pass sales and FY14 guidance, we are raising our FY14E and FY15E Resort EBITDA to $286M and $318M from $280M and $312M, resp. Our new numbers take into account better than expected pass sales at the newly acquired Canyons plus better op leverage in the lodging segment. Based on our new estimates, we are raising our PO to $76 from $72, which continues to represent 9.5-10x our FY15E resort EBITDA.”
NiSource (NYSE:NI) had its neutral rating reaffirmed by analysts at Zacks. The firm currently has a $32.00 price target on the stock.
Northeast Utilities (NYSE:NU) had its neutral rating reissued by analysts at Zacks. They currently have a $44.00 price target on the stock. Zacks’ analyst wrote, “We maintain our Neutral recommendation on Northeast Utilities primarily due to its diversified asset base and solid projects pipeline. These positives will enable the company to improve its performance going forward. Further, we believe the positive impacts from the NSTAR-merger including increase in scale of operations and strong customer base will contribute significantly. However, stringent regulations and over-reliance on transmission and distribution businesses will continue to cast a shadow on the stock. In the previous quarter, Northeast Utilities’ earnings per share and revenues surpassed both the Zacks Consensus Estimate and the year-ago results on the heels of higher returns from the transmission investments, an increase in electricity and natural gas sales, and lower operations and maintenance expenses.”
Regeneron Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:REGN) had its buy rating reissued by analysts at Goldman Sachs Group Inc.. They currently have a $355.00 target price on the stock, up from their previous target price of $329.00. The analysts wrote, “REGN reported complete Phase 3 data for key eye drug, Eylea for a new indication (DME, vision loss due to diabetes) at the Retina Society conference. The data were in line with our expectations and we anticipate they will support approval for a broader label and drive uptake/growth.”
SLM Corp. (NYSE:SLM) had its neutral rating reaffirmed by analysts at Zacks. Zacks currently has a $26.00 target price on the stock. Zacks’ analyst wrote, “Sallie Mae’s second-quarter 2013 core earnings per share substantially beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate. Lower loan loss provisions and increased net interest income were the driving factors. However, higher operating expenses reflected undisciplined expense management. Further, suspension of the new federal student loan origination in compliance with the legislation will continue to impact the company’s revenue generation capabilities. Despite challenges, we believe that Sallie Mae’s leading position in the student lending market, diversifying efforts, management’s decision to split the company, cost containment measures and increasing private student loan originations will help it to navigate well through the current sluggish growth cycle. Moreover, the company’s capital deployment efforts are impressive and we believe that it will help in fulfilling the stringent regulations.”
Synovus Financial Corp. (NYSE:SNV) had its neutral rating reiterated by analysts at Zacks. The firm currently has a $3.50 target price on the stock. Zacks’ analyst wrote, “Synovus reported its second-quarter 2013 net income in line with the Zacks Consensus Estimate. A higher top line, a rise in deposits, and loans were the tailwinds for the quarter. Moreover, reduced non-interest expenses reflected prudent expense management. We believe Synovus has emerged from a recovery phase, driven by lower non-performing assets and improving operating efficiencies. Moreover, repayment of Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) dues depicts sustainable earnings in the upcoming quarters. However, regulatory issues, a low interest environment and significant exposure to residential real estate markets remain matters of concern. “
SSE (LON:SSE) had its accumulate rating reissued by analysts at Charles Stanley.
Starz Liberty Capital Series A (NASDAQ:STRZA) had its equal weight rating reissued by analysts at Morgan Stanley. Morgan Stanley currently has a $26.00 price target on the stock, up from their previous price target of $22.00. The analysts wrote, “Starz is likely a 0-2% top line grower, with few major renewals limiting near-term downside risk, but limited pricing power to drive upside. However, high visibility and control over costs leads to steady FCF, and buybacks should drive healthy FCF/share growth. At 9x EV/EBITDA valuation appears full.”
Wisconsin Energy Corp. (NYSE:WEC) had its neutral rating reaffirmed by analysts at Zacks. The firm currently has a $42.00 price target on the stock. Zacks’ analyst wrote, “Wisconsin Energy Corporation’s second-quarter 2013 earnings per share and revenues surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimates as well as the year- ago results. The improvement in top- and bottom-line was primarily driven by higher demand of natural gas during a cooler-than-normal spring season and positive impacts from the share repurchase program. In the reported quarter, the company served more electricity and natural gas customers than a year-ago level. In addition, the steady progress in several internal projects would add to the company’s future profitability. However, stringent utility regulations and volatile commodity prices could offset the positives. Considering these factors, we maintain our Neutral recommendation on the stock.”
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