Additionally, Viacom was initiated with an Underperform at Bernstein
Check out today's top analyst calls from around Wall Street, compiled by The Fly.
APPLE UPGRADED, PRICE TARGETS RAISED AFTER EARNINGS: Apple (AAPL) was upgraded to Hold from Sell by Maxim analyst Nehal Chokshi and to Neutral from Reduce by New Street analyst Pierre Ferragu. Ferragu put a $275 price target on Apple, telling investors that the strong consumer traction of the iPhone 11 "kills" his short case.
Citi analyst Jim Suva raised his price target for Apple to $375 from $300 and reiterated a Buy rating on the shares. The company reported December quarter results that were much better than expected, as was the company's guidance, Suva told investors in a post-earnings research note. The analyst sees accelerating growth for sales, earnings and cash flow.
Cowen analyst Krish Sankar raised his price target on Apple to $370 from $350 following what he called "robust" results for the fiscal first quarter. The analyst said Apple's results and guidance were well above expectations on upside from iPhone and Wearables growth. The upcoming SE2 and 5G product cycles lend support for sustained iPhone revenue expansion along with AirPod/Wearables, said Sankar, who reiterated his Outperform rating on Apple shares.
RAYMOND JAMES BOOSTS FACEBOOK TO STRONG BUY: Raymond James analyst Aaron Kessler upgraded Facebook (FB) to Strong Buy from Outperform with a price target of $270, up from $230. The analyst expects Facebook to report revenue and earnings upside in Q4, as his channel checks point to "solid growth." Facebook's guidance for mid-to-high single digit deceleration versus was likely conservative, Kessler noted. In addition, the analyst's recent survey of 465 internet users points to Facebook retaining its social leadership position with Instagram as the biggest share gainer in time spent. Further, he believes moderating privacy concerns could drive multiple expansion for Facebook in 2020. Kessler finds the stock's valuation attractive at current levels.
BOFA UPGRADES GE TO BUY: BofA analyst Andrew Obin upgraded General Electric (GE) to Buy from Neutral with a price target of $16, up from $12, noting that the company's Q4 Industrial free cash flow was better than his forecast and, "more importantly," its 2020 guidance for Industrial free cash flow of $2B-$4B excluding Biopharma was materially higher than his prior forecast of $0.7B adjusted for timing of the Biopharma sale. Obin, who now has more confidence in GE's free cash flow execution, attributed a combination of lower than expected drag in Aviation, continuing improvement in Power, and lower corporate expenses.
ANALYSTS DIVERGE ON AMD: Summit Insights analyst Kinngai Chan upgraded AMD (AMD) to Buy from Hold. He sees AMD gaining share from Intel in the server market and believes the pace of gross margin expansion can accelerate through 2020.
However, Exane BNP Paribas analyst Jerome Ramel downgraded AMD to Neutral from Outperform with a $47 price target.
Meanwhile, Jefferies analyst Mark Lipacis noted that AMD's revenue outlook for Q1 is lower than consensus at its mid-point and said that its 2020 guidance for 28%-30% revenue growth and gross margins to increase to 45% seems conservative to him. He thinks AMD will take share for the next two years and expects server share gains to accelerate, added Lipacis, who raised his price target on AMD shares to $58 from $56 and kept a Buy rating on the stock.
BERNSTEIN STARTS VIACOM AT UNDERPERFORM: Bernstein analyst Todd Juenger initiated coverage of ViacomCBS (VIAC) with an Underperform rating and $33 price target. He believes ViacomCBS lacks the diversification, balance sheet, and intellectual property to go "all-in on DTC," as Disney (DIS) has, and while pursuing a strategy of being a "free cash flow machine," like Discovery (DISCA), would be perhaps the optimal strategy, Juenger doesn't believe it's palatable to the board or consistent with the recombination. That means the company is left with the "a little bit of everything, but nothing in particular" path, which he called "the no-strategy strategy."
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