ViacomCBS downgrade and GE upgrade also among notable calls
Check out today's top analyst calls from around Wall Street, compiled by The Fly.
BUY TARGET: Argus analyst Christopher Graja upgraded Target (TGT) to Buy from Hold with a $205 price target. The analyst noted that the company's 4.5% increase in comparable transactions in the third quarter is an "astoundingly good number" that highlights its growing relevance with shoppers. Graja added that Target's traffic was also "significantly stronger" than that of Walmart (WMT), while raising his fourth quarter earnings per share view to $2.10 from $1.68 and his fiscal year 2021 earnings per share to $8.80 from $6.85 to reflect the company's higher sales forecasts.
REVENUE GROWTH: KeyBanc analyst Michael Turits initiated coverage of Microsoft (MSFT) with an Overweight rating and $250 price target. The company's leadership cross hyperscale cloud computing and software-as-a-service should drive 11% annual revenue growth through 2023 and modest margin expansion, Turits told investors in a research note. The analyst sees 19% upside in the shares.
Turits also initiated coverage of
Splunk (SPLK) with an Overweight rating;
Oracle (ORCL) with an Overweight rating;
Workday (WDAY) with an Overweight rating;
Palo Alto Networks (PANW) with an Overweight rating;
Okta (OKTA) with an Overweight rating;
ServiceNow (NOW) with an Overweight rating;
HubSpot (HUBS) with an Overweight rating;
Salesforce (CRM) with an Overweight rating;
Slack Technologies (WORK) with a Sector Weight rating;
Datadog (DDOG) with a Sector Weight rating;
Alteryx (AYX) with a Sector Weight rating;
New Relic (NEWR) with a Sector Weight rating;
Fortinet (FTNT) with a Sector Weight rating;
Check Point (CHKP) with a Sector Weight rating.
DECLINES IN NETWORKS BUSINESS: Deutsche Bank analyst Bryan Kraft downgraded ViacomCBS (VIAC) to Hold from Buy with a price target of $32, down from $33. While streaming will continue to be a source of growth, it is unclear whether it will be "more than a hedge against" the decline in the traditional networks business from a long-term EBITDA and free cash flow perspective, Kraft told investors in a research note. The analyst looks forward to hearing more details regarding ViacomCBS's streaming plans as well as the terms of its pending NFL contract renewal. Both of these are critical elements to the five-year forecast, Kraft contended.
TURNAROUND GAINING TRACTION: Oppenheimer analyst Christopher Glynn upgraded General Electric (GE) to Outperform from Perform with a $12 price target, telling investors that GE has "clearly set a positive direction" with diligent and better-focused restructuring and cultural accountability taking hold. While the company "continues to emphasize a long game of inches," Glynn believes the pace of improvements is picking up as CEO Larry Culp's turnaround is gaining traction. While free cash flow continues to lag P&L improvements, he sees potential for a "solid swing" to potential 2021-2022 free cash flow upside."
HOLIDAY SPENDING SURVEY: Jefferies analyst Stephanie Wissink downgraded Ulta Beauty (ULTA) to Hold from Buy with an unchanged price target of $300. The firm's survey of about 1,400 consumers regarding holiday spending intentions and plans showed signals "across the board" of spending on beauty being lower year-and-year and signs of the potential lingering effects of COVID carrying into the medium-term, Wissink told investors. 26% of those who identified as Ulta shoppers signaled an intent to spend less than last year on the holidays, with 46% planning to spend the same, the analyst noted.