The majority of the time analysts reiterate their stock recommendations. So when a stock is upgraded, or more rarely, downgraded, the market takes note. This is especially the case for a market-leading stock like Facebook (see below!). TipRanks tracks and collates the latest stock recommendations from almost 4,800 Wall Street analysts. Here we used TipRanks’ data to find the most interesting recent stock upgrades– and zeroed in on the stocks with a bullish Street consensus. Why is the sentiment now shifting for these five stocks? Could it be that the market is looking more optimistic? Let’s take a closer look at these upgrades now:
1 FibroGen (NASDAQ:FGEN)
FibroGen creates first-in-class medicines to treat life-threatening conditions such as anemia, pulmonary fibrosis, and pancreatic cancer. On May 15, five-star Mizuho Securities analyst Difei Yang decided to give the stock her seal of approval. “We upgrade to Buy and maintain our $61 PT as we believe the company is likely to gain the first approval in new generation anemia drugs” she explains.
But this isn’t the only catalyst in the works. FibroGen has also just updated Phase 2b study results for Pamrevlumab. This is a monoclonal antibody used to treat patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). If Pamrevlumab reproduces its Phase II results in the planned Phase III trial, Yang sees significant upside.
“With a number of catalysts expected in 2018 and continued progress on the R&D pipeline, we see a favorable risk-reward profile with downside underpinned at $42/share in the event that Pamrevlumab Phase III doesn’t yield positive results while if positive, we believe upside could reach $74/share” writes Yang. Shares are currently trading at just under $53.
Overall, TipRanks reveals that FibroGen has received three buy ratings in the last three months. These analysts have an average price target of $76 (43% upside potential).
2 Lam Research (NASDAQ:LRCX)
This chip-equipment maker has just received a telling upgrade from Citigroup analyst Atif Malik. And to accompany this new rating he boosted his LRCX price target from $220 to $245 (22% upside potential).
Malik explains why is now bullish on the stock here: “We believe stable memory investments in 2019 can continue to drive strong top line growth for the company. While LRCX has improved its foundry share over the last three years, memory sales are still ~75% on trailing 12-months basis.”
“We model 2019 wafer fab equipment spend of $61 billion, above the Street’s $58 billion, and we believe the second half of 2018 is a good time to buy equipment stocks in anticipation of equipment shipments recovery in the first half of 2019,” Malik said. He concludes that weak memory-spend concerns are largely priced in.
Post-upgrade, LRCX now scores 100% Street support. And with 14 recent analyst buy ratings, the $275 average analyst price target translates into big upside potential of 38%.
3 Energizer Holdings Inc (NYSE:ENR)
“Return of the Bunny” is how top Jefferies analyst Kevin Grundy describes his take on battery manufacturer Energizer Holdings. He has now upgraded ENR on May 21 with a shiny new $70 price target up from $56 (17% upside potential). “ENR is our top alpha-generating idea in HPC over the next 12 months with our upwardly revised $70 PT offering” cheers Grundy.
He believes that improving trends in the battery category are severely under-appreciated. “Long considered a category in decline, US battery category sales have grown 3.4%, 0.9%, and 0.3% in 2017, 2016, and 2015, respectively, owing to growth in the internet of things and devices, favorable demographics, and increase in storms.”
“We see it likely that ENR upwardly revises its long-term outlook over the next twelve months” asserts the analyst. “Low-single-digit (%) topline growth would put ENR on par w/most staples cos., yet the stock’s multiple has yet to reflect it.”
4 Facebook (NASDAQ:FB)
Five-star Stifel Nicolaus analyst Scott Devitt is one of the Top 50 analysts on TipRanks. He is tracking a 25% average return per rating. But even top analysts can make mistakes. “Post-1Q earnings, we chose to stick with our recent view on Facebook and were wrong to do so. With the information available now, FB stock is too cheap to ignore despite its challenges” stated Devitt.
Devitt downgraded the stock in early January because of concerns from survey data suggesting platform fatigue. Now, however, “we may be getting closer to the other side in these areas of concern and valuation may provide the support to see us through.” Plus FB has the benefit of key growth drivers like WhatsApp, Instagram and video to ‘fuel above-market ad revenue growth for the next several years.’
We can see that his FB upgrade comes with a $202 price target. That translates into 9% upside from current levels. However, this is still far below the Street. Based on the last three months of ratings, analysts have an average FB price target of $220. This suggests more appealing upside potential of 19%. Thirty out of 32 recent analyst ratings on FB are bullish.
5 CACI International (NYSE:CACI)
If you haven’t heard of CACI International before, listen up. We are looking at an ‘industry leader with macro tailwinds.’ CACI provides IT services to many branches of the federal government including defense, homeland security, intelligence, and healthcare. This is a ‘buy opportunity for investors seeking broad exposure’ according to top Noble Financial analyst Mark Jordan.
“We are upgrading shares from Hold to Buy, as shares have hovered in the $150 range despite improved profitability, a much improved macro environment and the CSRA bid now being in the past” writes Jordan. He now has a $175 price target on CACI (7% upside potential).
Overall, CACI has received four buy ratings in the last three months- giving it a ‘Strong Buy’ analyst consensus rating. Bear in mind that one of these ratings is from Raymond James analyst Brian Gesuale. He upgraded CACI from Buy to Strong Buy back at the end of March.
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