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Coca-Cola Upgrade, Walgreens Downgrade Among Top Analyst Calls

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Additionally, two firms upgraded Snap and two firms upgraded Biogen. Check out top analyst calls from around Wall Street, compiled by The Fly.

UBS BOOSTS COCA-COLA TO BUY: 

UBS analyst Sean King upgraded Coca-Cola (KO) to Buy from Neutral with a price target of $63, up from $55. The company is “effectively navigating” aggressive U.S. price increases, a transformational deal for Costa, and demonstrating strong innovation capabilities while reinvigorating growth in high-margin sparkling, King told investors in a research note. These “comfortably position” Coca-Cola to deliver on growth targets and improve free cash flow through fiscal 2022, added the analyst. He believes the company’s earnings, range bound since 2011, have reached a “sustainable fundamental inflection” that will drive a multiple re-rating.

JPMORGAN CUTS WALGREENS TO NEUTRAL: 

JPMorgan analyst Lisa Gill downgraded Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA) to Neutral from Overweight with a price target of $63, down from $73. The analyst, based on her relative rating methodology, sees better opportunities for upside in other companies within her coverage universe at the current time. With Walgreens expected to provide fiscal 2020 guidance with Q4 results on October 28, its adjusted operating profit growth “will continue to remain challenged” in the near term, after a high-single digit decline in fiscal 2019, Gill told investors in a pre-earnings research note. The analyst said that with growth taking longer to realize under the current strategy and limited clarity on the roadmap to improvement and few identifiable near term catalysts, she finds it difficult to justify an Overweight rating on Walgreens shares.

NEEDHAM, JPMORGAN UPGRADE SNAP: 

Needham analyst Laura Martin upgraded Snap (SNAP) to Hold from Underperform after its Q3 earnings beat, saying that based on its Q4 EBITDA guidance, she now expects the company to reach breakeven free cash flows in Q1 of 2020. The analyst noted that the company has “met its promise” to reduce costs and drive margin expansion, while its $1.1B convertible debt issuance in August has added to its balance sheet strength. Martin further cited Snap’s improved revenue trajectory with a “growing number of ‘always on’ advertisers.”

JPMorgan analyst Doug Anmuth upgraded Snap to Overweight from Neutral with a price target of $20, up from $17. Following a 20% pullback from recent highs and Tuesday night’s Q3 results that “showed more encouraging trends,” Snap shares are “increasingly compelling,” Anmuth told investors in a research note. The analyst believes Snap’s platform and business have both “improved dramatically over the past several quarters.” Daily active users have now increased for three straight quarters, accelerating to 13% growth in Q3, while daily time spent continues to run at 30-plus minutes per user, Anmuth pointed out. Further, the analyst thinks Snap is at an “inflection point” with positive EBITDA for the first time in Q4.

BIOGEN SEES PAIR OF UPGRADES AFTER ALZHEIMER’S NEWS: 

SVB Leerink analyst Geoffrey Porges upgraded Biogen (BIIB) to Outperform from Market Perform with a price target of $350, up from $256. The analyst is ambivalent about the prospects for the company’s most important product, which is once again aducanumab, but even with relatively conservative assumptions, and a 50% probability of approval, his fair value estimate for the stock easily reaches $350.

Guggenheim analyst Yatin Suneja upgraded Biogen to Buy from Neutral with a price target of $365, up from $256. Biogen’s key Alzheimer’s asset aducanumab is “back in play” following a new analysis of Phase III dataset, Suneja said. While the robustness of the data will continue to be debated by the Street, there is “more than an even chance” of FDA approval, added the analyst. As a result, Suneja expects Biogen shares to outperform heading into the FDA decision. Aducanumab has the potential to generate $5B-$10B in peak sales, potentially leading to greater than 50% upside appreciation in Biogen shares, contended Suneja. Meanwhile, the analyst believes the company’s pipeline “offers optionality” and its commercial products are performing well.

MIZUHO CUTS SERVICENOW TO NEUTRAL: 

Mizuho analyst Gregg Moskowitz downgraded ServiceNow (NOW) to Neutral from Buy with a price target of $230, down from $308. The company surprisingly announced the impending departure of CEO John Donahoe, who is going to head Nike (NKE), and lowered its full year guidance due to currency, Moskowitz told investors in a research note. Employee attrition has also become a concern, said the analyst, who worries that the departure of Donahoe “could accelerate this trend.” As a result, he prefers to move to the sidelines with the respect to the shares.

Originally Posted on October 23, 2019 – Coca-Cola Upgrade, Walgreens Downgrade Among Today’s Top Analyst Calls

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