Equities Research Analysts’ Ratings Reiterations for August, 28th (AN, APA, ATHN, CBS, DPS, DTV, ISIS, JPM, MO, TIVO)
AutoNation (NYSE:AN) had its neutral rating reiterated by analysts at Zacks. Zacks currently has a $57.00 price target on the stock. Zacks’ analyst wrote, “AutoNation posted a 13.7% rise in earnings per share to $0.83 in the second quarter of 2014. However, earnings per share missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $0.87. Revenues increased 8.2% to $4.79 billion, marginally beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $4.77 billion. The upside can be attributed to strong performance in new vehicles, parts and service, and finance and insurance businesses. The Premium Luxury segment gained the most in the quarter. With the improvement in market dynamics, the company’s optimal brand and market mix should boost new vehicle sales. Meanwhile, AutoNation’s efforts to expand its dealer network should help it outperform peers. However, rising interest rates pose a threat. Thus, we are reiterating our Neutral recommendation on the stock. “
Apache (NYSE:APA) had its neutral rating reissued by analysts at Zacks. Zacks currently has a $107.00 target price on the stock. Zacks’ analyst wrote, “We like Apache’s large geographically-diversified reserve base, its balanced exposure to natural gas and crude oil, and its multiyear trends in reserve replacement and production growth. A pristine balance sheet helps the company to capitalize on investment opportunities and strategic acquisitions, thereby further improving growth visibility. However, we see limited upside potential for shares, taking into consideration Apache’s sensitivity to gas/oil price volatility, its drilling results, costs, geo-political risks and project timing delays. As such, we expect Apache to perform in line with the broader market and, therefore, maintain our Neutral recommendation.”
athenahealth (NASDAQ:ATHN) had its neutral rating reaffirmed by analysts at Zacks. They currently have a $150.00 price target on the stock. Zacks’ analyst wrote, “athenahealth’s saw adjusted earnings of $0.09 per share in the 2014-second quarter and beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate by $0.07. Revenues of $185.9 million rose 27.1% and also beat the mark. The company has made rapid strides in capturing the EHR business of physician practices. Its takeover of Epocrates in early 2013 will allow it to grow its user base. However, the federal Stimulus is winding down. Larger competitors may benefit from the incumbency factor. Cloud computing may give rise to concerns about privacy and data security. As such, we maintain our Neutral recommendation on the stock and set a target of $150.00.”
CBS (NYSE:CBS) had its neutral rating reissued by analysts at Zacks. The firm currently has a $63.00 target price on the stock.
Dr Pepper Snapple Group (NYSE:DPS) had its neutral rating reaffirmed by analysts at Zacks. Zacks currently has a $65.00 target price on the stock. Zacks’ analyst wrote, “Dr Pepper’s second-quarter 2014 adjusted earnings of $1.06 per share beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 15.2%. Moreover, earnings increased 26% year over year on the back of strong margins, lower taxes and shares. Both net sales and volume grew 1% in the quarter. Overall, Dr Pepper has sound long-term fundamentals – strong position in the flavored CSD market, reducing costs and regular cash returns to shareholders. Also, the company had a strong first half which prompted an earnings guidance raise. Notwithstanding the consistent margin discipline, the company needs to turn around sales. Though CSDs showed improving trends this quarter, we await a sustainable improvement before turning more positive on the stock. Weak volume trends, ongoing pressure in the U.S. CSD category and lack of exposure outside the U.S. keep us concerned. We, thus, maintain our Neutral recommendation on the stock. “
Directv (NYSE:DTV) had its neutral rating reaffirmed by analysts at Zacks. The firm currently has a $90.00 target price on the stock. Zacks’ analyst wrote, “DIRECTV reported strong financial results for the second quarter of 2014 where both the top and bottom line surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate. Continuous elimination of low-quality customers, robust Latin American subscriber growth, aggressive share repurchase plans and the launch of TV Everywhere services are likely to act as tailwinds for the company while moving ahead. However, competitive threats to the pay-TV industry, rising programming costs, lack of major tournaments like FIFA World Cup, foreign exchange currency risks and weakness in the Latin American operations pose near-term concerns for the company. Meanwhile, the stock price has soared 50% in the last year and is currently trading at a 52-week high range. We believe DIRECTV is currently fairly valued and thus, reiterate our Neutral recommendation on the stock.”
ISIS Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:ISIS) had its outperform rating reaffirmed by analysts at BMO Capital Markets. The firm currently has a $70.00 target price on the stock.
JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM) had its neutral rating reiterated by analysts at Zacks. They currently have a $62.00 target price on the stock. Zacks’ analyst wrote, “JPMorgan braved the tough industry backdrop and seasonal softness due to its underlying strength. The company’s second-quarter 2014 earnings beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate. In addition to seasonally soft trading volumes, there were legal costs and lower reserve release to drag the results, but top-line strength dominated. Also, its cost containment efforts were reflected in the non-interest expenses. We anticipate continued synergies from business diversification, steadily improving retail banking performance, cost-containment efforts and strong capital position. However, pressure on net interest margin, a stringent regulatory environment, lower level of client activity and litigation issues remain the major near-term concerns.”
Altria Group (NYSE:MO) had its neutral rating reiterated by analysts at Zacks. The firm currently has a $45.00 target price on the stock. Zacks’ analyst wrote, “Altria’s second-quarter 2014 earnings of $0.65 were in line with the Zacks Consensus Estimate. However, earnings increased 4.8% year over year backed by strong performance of the leading premium brands. Sales were in line with the Zacks Consensus Estimate but up 1% year over year as soft revenues in the Smokeable segment offset the gains in the Smokeless and wine segment. Overall, we are encouraged by the company’s efforts to adapt to the evolving consumer trends and develop less harmful alternative tobacco products. Also, we commend the company’s growing market share in the e-cigarette category. However, shift in demand from traditional tobacco products has dented volumes in the Smokeable segment. Higher fees associated with litigations and the FDA’s anti-smoking campaigns are hurting profitability. Hence, we prefer to remain Neutral on the stock with a target price of $45.00 “
United States Steel (NYSE:X) had its neutral rating reissued by analysts at Zacks. The firm currently has a $41.00 price target on the stock.
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