Check out today's top analyst calls from around Wall Street, compiled by The Fly.
CBS SEES DIFFERING REACTIONS AFTER MERGER ANNOUNCEMENT: BofA/Merrill analyst Jessica Ehrlich upgraded CBS (CBS) to Buy with a price target of $63. The analyst cited the removed overhang of uncertainty around the company's leadership/M&A status and sees a "fairly clear" visibility toward double-digit earnings accretion, with optionality on further accretion through incremental cost and revenue synergies in its Viacom (VIA, VIAB) merger. Ehrlich added that her target 9-times expected 2020 earnings multiple is a premium to pure play cable network companies but a discount to diversified peers of CBS.
However, BMO Capital analyst Daniel Salmon downgraded CBS to Market Perform from Outperform and lowered his price target for the shares to $51 from $60. The analyst transitioned his CBS valuation to combined fundamentals and an average of comparable multiples following its merger announcement with Viacom. The next 12 months are more likely to be focused near-term content investment and potentially more acquisitions, Salmon said. Despite the downgrade, the analyst is "intrigued by the differentiated message" about building a larger third party licensing business at a time when competitors are pulling back.
SO DOES VIACOM: Guggenheim analyst Michael Morris upgraded Viacom to Buy from Neutral after the company announced an agreement to combine with CBS in an all-stock deal that values the new company at more than $28B. He sees the combined company as more strongly positioned to leverage its content pipeline to pursue growth opportunities while maintaining a leadership position in linear video and has confidence that the merger will be completed, Morris said. He raised his price target on Viacom shares to $35 from $31 and increased his price target on CBS shares to $59 from $57.
However, Macquarie analyst Tim Nollen downgraded Viacom to Neutral from Outperform and kept a Neutral rating on CBS shares after the two companies announced a merger deal with no premium for Viacom following "3 years of on again/off again merger discussions amidst wrenching change in the industry." While he believes the deal's strategic positives outweigh the risks, Nollen said integration might not be easy and that ViacomCBS will still be "small-ish" compared with competitors Comcast (CMCSA) and Disney (DIS). He lowered his price target on Viacom shares to $31 from $37 and cut his price target on CBS shares to $53 from $55.
MYRIAD CUT TO NEUTRAL AT PIPER: Piper Jaffray analyst William Quirk downgraded Myriad Genetics (MYGN) to Neutral from Overweight and lowered his price target for the shares to $40 from $45. The company reported "disappointing" fiscal Q4 results with revenue, adjusted earnings and fiscal 2020 guidance well below consensus, Quirk said. The analyst added that risks to GeneSight and reimbursement pressure makes 2020 a transition year for the company. The trend of the overall business is volume growth but declining reimbursement, said Quirk.
AMARIN STARTED WITH AN OUTPERFORM AT SVB LEERINK: SVB Leerink analyst Ami Fadia initiated coverage of Amarin (AMRN) with an Outperform rating and $26 price target. She sees the recent 20% pullback in the stock following news that the FDA will hold an advisory committee meeting to review the supplemental new drug application for Vascepa as offering a good entry point, as she believes that Vascepa's label expansion will be approved by the agency. If approved, she thinks Vascepa sales can grow to over $4B in the U.S. at their peak. Fadia added that the November 14 FDA committee meeting and PDUFA date, which she thinks is likely to be rescheduled for late December, are two catalysts that could drive greater than 20% upside in Amarin shares.
RBC BOOSTS PAGERDUTY, ELASTIC TO OUTPERFORM: RBC Capital analyst Matthew Hedberg upgraded PagerDuty (PD) to Outperform with an unchanged price target of $49, saying the recent 37% pullback in the stock price over the past two months creates a more attractive long-term entry point. The analyst attributed some of the weakness to "confusion" around the company's calculated billings reported in Q1 , saying PagerDuty has the strongest renewal activity in Q2 and Q4. Hedberg added that he sees upside to Q2 and FY20 guidance ahead of the company's results next month, encouraging investors to focus on PagerDuty's revenue and trailing-12-month billings rates.
Hedberg also upgraded Elastic (ESTC) to Outperform and raised his price target to $112 from $94, saying that the company has now reported two strong quarters even though the stock has traded range-bound based on concerns around billings growth and the competition from Amazon's (AMZN) AWS. The analyst adds that his recent bus tour with the management has increased his confidence on his original bullish thesis on Elastic, and he sees the company continuing its "strong execution with an upward bias to estimates."
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