Investment Analysts’ Ratings Reiterations for January, 2nd (AMSG, ASBC, BXS, CFR, FIO, FISV, HLF, INTC, KBR, KRFT)
Amsurg Corp. (NASDAQ:AMSG) had its neutral rating reaffirmed by analysts at Zacks. The firm currently has a $48.00 price target on the stock. Zacks’ analyst wrote, “AmSurg’s third-quarter 2013 adjusted EPS of $0.53 surged 10% marking its second consecutive quarter of double-digit growth. Although, EPS remained in line with the Zacks Consensus Estimate, it touched the upper end of the guidance. Revenues increased 19%, ahead of the Zacks Consensus Estimate. Double-digit sales growth came on the back of increased revenues per procedure owing to the higher percentage of multi-specialty centers. Still, headwinds like reduction in workers’ compensation reimbursement, sequestration and increased interest expense are intimidating. However, we are encouraged by AmSurg’s new alliance with a hospital system that will create growth prospects going forward. We are Neutral on AmSurg.”
Associated Banc-Corp (NASDAQ:ASBC) had its neutral rating reaffirmed by analysts at Zacks. They currently have a $18.00 target price on the stock. Zacks’ analyst wrote, “Associated Banc-Corp’s third-quarter 2013 earnings marginally outpaced the Zacks Consensus Estimate. Results were driven by top-line growth, lower operating expenses, partially offset by a decline in non-interest income. Moreover, improvements in asset quality as well as loan and deposit balances were the positives. We expect this trend to continue and capital ratios to stabilize, given the gradual recovery in the economy. Also, significant capital deployment activities will reinstate investors’ confidence in the stock. However, considerable exposure to commercial loans and concentration risks arising from limited geographic diversification keep us apprehensive.”
BancorpSouth (NYSE:BXS) had its neutral rating reaffirmed by analysts at Zacks. The firm currently has a $27.00 target price on the stock. Zacks’ analyst wrote, “BancorpSouth’s third-quarter 2013 earnings were in line with the Zacks Consensus Estimate. Significant fall in provision for credit losses as well as lower non-interest expense were the positives. Yet, lower top line was recorded. We believe that the company’s steady mortgage lending business performance, along with opportunistic acquisitions, would help it navigate through the current sluggish macroeconomic cycle. Nevertheless, we remain concerned about the prevalent low interest rate environment and its adverse impact on net interest margin (NIM).”
Cullen/Frost Bankers (NYSE:CFR) had its neutral rating reissued by analysts at Zacks. Zacks currently has a $78.00 target price on the stock. Zacks’ analyst wrote, “Cullen/Frost’s third-quarter 2013 earnings were in line with the Zacks Consensus Estimate, while it was above the prior-year figure. An improvement in top line was partially offset by higher expenses. Further, provisions for credit losses were on the higher side. Going forward, we expect the company’s profitability to be aided by the growth in loans and deposits. Moreover, its capital deployment activities remained encouraging. Further, the WNB Bancshares merger will enable Cullen/Frost to reinforce its Texas franchise and enter the profitable Midland and Odessa markets and thereby aid expansion. However, the prevalent low interest rate environment and surging expenses will continue to restrict bottom-line improvement. Nevertheless, with the ongoing revival of the economy, we expect the company to deliver better earnings. “
Fusion-io (NYSE:FIO) had its buy rating reissued by analysts at Needham & Company.
Fiserv (NASDAQ:FISV) had its neutral rating reaffirmed by analysts at Zacks. Zacks currently has a $62.00 target price on the stock. Zacks’ analyst wrote, “Fiserv reported a mixed third quarter, missing the Zacks Consensus Estimate for the top line. However, the company provided positive fourth-quarter guidance and reiterated its long-term outlook. Fiserv has expanded its foothold in the financial and payment solutions business supported by its broad customer base, diversified product portfolio, contract wins and continued technology upgrades. Higher synergies from Open Solutions acquisitions and continuous contract wins by the DNA platform are expected to drive growth over the next couple of years. Higher recurring revenues, operational efficiencies and strong internal growth are expected to result in solid earnings and free cash flow growth, which will provide the company a competitive edge. However, a volatile macroeconomic environment, banking and financial service consolidation, poor cash flow, tough competition and increasing industry regulations are the primary concerns in the near term. We maintain our Neutral recommendation on the stock and set a price target of $62.00. “
Herbalife (NYSE:HLF) had its buy rating reaffirmed by analysts at DA Davidson. They currently have a $115.00 price target on the stock. The analysts wrote, “The company has had two big-four audits, both with a clean bill of health. The second, by PwC, with particular attention and inquiry paid to allegations made by a now-infamous short seller,” the report said. “Perversely, the inquisition Herbalife has endured for the past year has made the company better with a few “raising the bar” policy tweaks on product returns and “lead generation.”
Intel Corp. (NASDAQ:INTC) had its top pick rating reiterated by analysts at Wells Fargo & Co..
Intel Corp. (NASDAQ:INTC) had its neutral rating reiterated by analysts at Sterne Agee. The firm currently has a $25.95 price target on the stock, up from their previous price target of $20.00.
KBR (NYSE:KBR) had its buy rating reiterated by analysts at DA Davidson. DA Davidson currently has a $40.00 target price on the stock. The analysts wrote, “KBR is a leader in engineering and construction capabilities including established market positions in gas processing, upstream and downstream hydrocarbon production, downstream refining/chemicals production as well as industrial facilities, infrastructure and government support services,” the report said. “KBR’s experience and expertise appear to position the company to capitalize on particular waves of capital spending on North American LNG projects, Canadian oil sands development, and downstream chemical projects.”
Kraft Foods Group (NASDAQ:KRFT) had its neutral rating reissued by analysts at Zacks. The firm currently has a $57.00 price target on the stock. Zacks’ analyst wrote, “Kraft’s third-quarter adjusted earnings of $0.65 per share missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 4.4% and declined 23.5% year over year. Weak top line, higher interest expense and taxes hurt earnings. Sales declined 4.2% due to difficult volume comparisons and a tough consumer environment and missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate. Several product categories were once again soft due to consumption weakness and increased competitive activity. Kraft has been struggling with its top line ever since the split from Mondelez. Moreover, increasing competitive pressures, challenging industry conditions and a lack of exposure outside the U.S. concerns us. However, the company has strong fundamentals. Kraft’s aggressive cost reduction and efficiency-improvement initiatives remain on track providing cash to invest in innovation, brand-building and marketing initiatives. Moreover, Kraft is focusing on building shareholders’ value through share buybacks and regular dividend payments. “
QLogic Corp. (NASDAQ:QLGC) had its neutral rating reiterated by analysts at Zacks. The firm currently has a $12.00 price target on the stock. Zacks’ analyst wrote, “QLogic reported better-than-expected second-quarter fiscal 2014 results. Both earnings and revenues beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate. Although revenues declined on a year-over-year basis, earnings jumped significantly. We believe that the company’s top-line growth continues to suffer from the sluggish macroeconomic environment. Moreover, higher investments in engineering and intensifying competition will hurt profitability, going forward. Nevertheless, we believe that QLogic will continue to benefit from contract wins from OEMs in the near term. Moreover, innovative product pipeline, new technologies and additional savings from its restructuring initiatives will drive profitability, going forward. Additionally, continuing share buybacks will boost earnings in the long run. Thus, we maintain our Neutral recommendation and set a price target of $12.00. “
Synovus Financial Corp. (NYSE:SNV) had its outperform rating reissued by analysts at Zacks. They currently have a $4.00 price target on the stock. Zacks’ analyst wrote, “Synovus reported its third-quarter 2013 earnings in line with the Zacks Consensus Estimate but was above the prior-year quarter earnings. Lower expenses and significant improvement in credit quality were the tailwinds for the quarter. However, decline in the top-line offset the positives. We believe Synovus’ repayment of Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) dues depicts that it has emerged from the recovery phase and will deliver 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.”
Weatherford (NYSE:WFT) had its neutral rating reiterated by analysts at Zacks. The firm currently has a $16.00 price target on the stock. Zacks’ analyst wrote, “There are plenty of positives for Weatherford, including its leading position in the global oilfield services market, its broad and technologically-complex product/service offerings, and its growing presence in the relatively stable Eastern Hemisphere. The company’s third quarter 2013 topline improved on an annualized basis mainly due to positive contributions from all segments except North America. The company is well positioned to take advantage of the multi-year expansion in the international upstream segment. The process is ongoing and is likely to gather momentum through 2014. However, Weatherford’s debt heavy balance sheet and weak ability to generate free cash somewhat temper our outlook. As such, we see the stock performing in line with the broader market and have maintained our Neutral recommendation.”
Yingli Green Energy Hold. Co. (NYSE:YGE) had its positive rating reissued by analysts at Deutsche Bank.
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