Roku coverage initiation and Moderna downgrade also among notable calls
Check out today's top analyst calls from around Wall Street, compiled by The Fly.
BUY DISNEY: Deutsche Bank analyst Bryan Kraft upgraded Disney (DIS) to Buy from Hold with a price target of $163, up from $128. The analyst argued that Disney is succeeding in the "land grab phase" of direct-to-consumer and has the clearest path to successfully transitioning its general entertainment programming and content production businesses into a globally scaled, vertically integrated streaming entertainment leader. Kraft believes Disney will drive "significant opportunities to monetize a large subscriber base in a more meaningful way" down the road through higher pricing, leveraging the Disney+ base to distribute the soon-to-be- launched Star branded streaming service, and an "inevitable shattering" of today's exclusive theatrical window to make room for new premium video on demand windows that enhance monetization of film studio output. Disney's upcoming analyst day focused on streaming is likely to be a positive catalyst for the stock, Kraft contended.
NIO TO CO-EXIST WITH TESLA IN CHINA: A Deutsche Bank analyst Edison Yu initiated coverage of NIO Inc. (NIO) with a Buy rating and $24 price target. There is an emerging class of Chinese automakers backed by large, well-capitalized tech titans and "ambitious" local governments looking to disrupt the auto industry, namely NIO, Xpeng (XPEV), Li Auto (LI), and WM Motor, Yu told investors in a research note. The analyst pointed out that NIO is the leader of "Fab Four" given its stronger brand perception, higher sales volume, focus on the premium SUV segment, and "battle-tested" operational track record. Further, Yu thinks all four can co-exist with Tesla (TSLA) "as there is still plenty of runway to capture market share away from traditional ICE automakers." With the China electric vehicle market already the world's largest and now "inflecting upward after the recent downturn," NIO is well positioned to take share in the premium segment, the analyst added.
ABOVE-CONSENSUS ARPU GROWTH: Wells Fargo analyst Steven Cahall initiated coverage of Roku (ROKU) with an Overweight rating and $215 price target. The analyst contended that based on his checks, the company's scale and ad technology will help it to generate above-consensus ARPU growth. Cahall added that Roku is one of the "better CTV platforms" amid the migration to Connected TV trend, as its "DSP-neutral" approach makes it easy for marketers to deploy.
RISING VACCINE COMPETITION: SVB Leerink analyst Mani Foroohar downgraded Moderna (MRNA) to Underperform from Market Perform with a price target of $41, down from $58. Recent developments, including the loss of mRNA-1273's lead in clinical development, extension of multiple large volume COVID-19 vaccine contracts to competitors, and risk of reduced end-user demand due to increased skepticism for vaccines rushed to market under, make a "durable market with oligopoly pricing unlikely," Foroohar told investors in a research note. While probability of an Emergency Use Authorization from the FDA for mRNA-1273 in the fourth quarter is high, Moderna's speed to market has fallen behind competitors, said the analyst, who is "no longer able to find an avenue to confidently predict beats" versus 2021 estimates "even with aggressive assumptions." As investors digest the "changing competitive environment" for COVID vaccines, Moderna shares will continue to face pressure ahead of first commercial sales this winter, concluded Foroohar.
'STRATEGICALLY CRITICAL MOVE': Argus analyst Joseph Bonner upgraded Verizon (VZ) to Buy from Hold with a $68 price target. The analyst is positive on the company's "strategically critical move" in winning the recently completed FCC spectrum auction along with its history of dividend increases. Bonner also contended that most consumers are likely to stay with their existing carriers in the near term, which is a positive for Verizon as the "wireless industry's leading incumbent."
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