All the market-moving chatter from Wall Street Wednesday morning
(This is CNBC Pro’s live coverage of Wednesday’s analyst calls and Wall Street chatter. Please refresh every 20-30 minutes to view the latest posts.) Wednesday’s analyst calls include top picks in the semiconductor and Chinese e-commerce sectors. Bernstein named Taiwan Semiconductor a “best idea” for 2024, raising its price target on the stock. Meanwhile Morgan Stanley called PPD Holdings a top play following a strong quarterly report. The bank also hiked its price target on shares. Check out the latest calls and chatter below. 8:36 a.m. ET: End to Goldman Sachs’ Apple partnership would be a ‘long-term plus,’ says Wells Fargo’s Mayo At last Goldman Sachs may be able to realign with its core strategy if it fully exits its partnership with Apple, according to Wells Fargo. Analyst Mike Mayo pointed to a Wall Street Journal report that Apple has proposed Goldman exit its entire consumer portfolio, which includes credit cards and savings accounts, over the next 12-15 months. This would allow the firm to focus more on its core business in capital markets, he added, and building long-term relationships in its legacy businesses instead of pursuing a transactional strategy with consumers. “Since the consumer strategy began, GS has dealt with probes from the Fed regarding its consumer lending business, as well as investigations from the CFPB regarding ‘credit card account management practices,’ including how the bank resolves billing errors and refunds,” Mayo said in a Wednesday note to investors. “We view this news as a long-term plus.” Shares of both companies were flat in premarket trading Wednesday. Ending the Apple partnership would be the “final nail in the consumer coffin,” Mayo also said, following the sale of its consumer banking portfolio, the sale of its buy-now-pay-later business Greensky and the ending of its card partnership with GM. — Tanaya Macheel 8:34 a.m. ET: Wall Street analysts say Micron Technology remains a buy after preannouncement Wall Street analysts say Micron Technology remains a buying opportunity after it raised its fiscal first quarter guidance in a preannouncement. Micron on Tuesday cited improved supply and demand and pricing environment in its revised guidance. It expects a narrower-than-expected loss of $1 per share, compared to prior guidance of $1.07 loss per share. Revenue is anticipated to approach $4.7 billion, compared to prior guidance of $4.4 billion, give or take $200 million. Barclays’ Sidney Ho said the positive pre-announcement is not a surprise, but confirms the analyst’s positive view of the company. Ho has a buy rating on the stock, as well as $85 price target representing 11% upside from Tuesday’s close of $76.12. Ho said, “MU’s improved confidence over a continuation of supply/demand balance, as well as a more favorable pricing outlook for the remainder of FY24, support our view of the cyclical upturn of the industry and set the stage for memory to reach record levels in 2025.” JPMorgan’s Harlan Sur reiterated an overweight rating on the stock. He hiked his price target to $90 from $80, implying shares can climb 18% from here. The analyst said, “Overall, with solid cost execution and improving supply/ demand fundamentals, we anticipate continued improvements in GM and earning power in 2024 and into 2025.” In contrast, Morgan Stanley’s Joseph Moore has an underweight rating on Micron, saying he thinks the stock is ahead of itself. “We think that the company has executed well in the downturn, and we have faith in the execution around HBM3e, but we still do not see market conditions that will lead to peak returns in FY25, and see the stock as already pricing in those concerns.” The stock is up 52% this year. It’s up nearly 1% in Wednesday premarket trading. — Sarah Min 8:19 a.m. ET: Goldman Sachs becomes less optimistic on Leslie’s following earnings report Goldman Sachs moved to the sidelines on Leslie’s as demand recovery remained questionable. Analyst Kate McShane downgraded shares of the pool stock to neutral from buy. McShane’s $5 implies the stock will slide 14.1% from Tuesday’s close. The company missed earnings expectations in the fiscal fourth quarter and offered weak full-year guidance when reporting Tuesday, according to FactSet. Shares tumbled nearly 20% before the bell on Wednesday in the wake of the release. “Sales and margins are expected to remain pressured in the near term, and the demand recovery that we expected to take place in FY24 now appears increasingly uncertain,” McShane said. McShane said the company is well positioned for long-term growth and can continue taking share. But she warned that 2024 should be muted with no near-term catalyst to help performance. On the other hand, Bank of America analyst Elizabeth Suzuki called Leslie’s the “pool supplies retail leader.” She said the company has opportunity even with demand still subdued. Suzuki reiterated her buy rating, while slashing her price target by $5 to $7. Still, her new target reflects an upside of 20.3%. “While investor sentiment around pool-related public companies remains a headwind to LESL shares, we view the company as well-positioned within a niche category,” Suzuki said. — Alex Harring 8:18 a.m. ET: Carlyle downgraded at Evercore ISI after November’s 25% runup Alternative asset manager Carlyle Group was cut to in line from outperform at Evercore ISI, which cited a 25% runup in November, partly fueled by CG’s addition to the S & P MidCap 400 Index, and private equity business headwinds. CG is selling for 7.5% more than Evercore ISI’s $32 price target. “Don’t get us wrong, we still see great secular growth opportunities in the alternatives space & believe Carlyle will participate in some of those areas, has a ton of accrued carry, lots of dry powder, has taken out some costs, and sports a group-low multiple,” wrote analysts led by Glenn Schorr. “CG continues to be more private equity centric than most (where the healing is slow, capital raising is challenging & next vintages are likely smaller), limited [fee-related earnings] growth lately, has less direct lending, infrastructure & wealth distribution (all of which are driving industry growth & will be long roads to build), low FRE margins/yet the need to invest, and a culture still in need of recovery,” Evercore ISI added. — Scott Schnipper 8:04 a.m. ET: Deutsche Bank remains bullish on Broadcom ahead of fiscal fourth-quarter results Don’t be surprised if Broadcom tops analysts expectations and raises guidance when its reports fiscal fourth-quarter earnings early next month, according to Deutsche Bank. “Overall, we continue to view AVGO as operating to a disciplined and diversified long-term strategy, with near-term benefits from secular growth in AI and incremental revenues/EPS/FCF from the recently closed acquisition of VMware, and the cyclical de-risking of the business providing a solid setup into FY24,” wrote analyst Ross Seymore in a Tuesday note. The firm expects artificial intelligence revenues to top $3.8 billion and make up 15% of semiconductor revenues in the fiscal 2023, increasing to 25% next year. Seymore also forecasts that its recently closed acquisition of VMWare could add $8.5 billion in incremental adjusted EBITDA within three years after the close. Broadcom shares have rallied more than 69% this year, with the firm’s $950 price target implying that shares should remain rangebound for Tuesday’s close. — Samantha Subin 8:02 a.m. ET: Sell this Canadian defense stock, BofA warns Bank of America turned bearish on Canadian defense stock CAE, citing margin and overcapacity concerns. Analyst Ronald Epstein downgraded the stock to underperform from neutral. His $19 price target implies shares could retreat 7.5% in the next year. Epstein sees challenges ahead for both the defense and civil business areas. “We downgrade CAE … mainly to reflect lower for longer Defense margins and concerns around overcapacity impacting margins at Civil,” the analyst said. The new multiple “fairly factors in the scarcity premium for a pure play on aircraft simulators, new defense wins, and the concerns over defense underperforming for longer and risk of not executing on Civil,” he added. CAE shed more than 2% in premarket trading on Wednesday. The stock has underperformed the broader market this year with a gain of slightly more than 6%. — Alex Harring 7:52 a.m. ET: Goldman Sachs hikes Intuit price target following earnings report Goldman Sachs raised expectations for Intuit shares following the financial technology company’s latest earnings print, citing easing concerns and the opportunity around artificial intelligence. Analyst Kash Rangan reiterated his buy rating while upping his price target by $30 to $625. Rangan’s new target implies a 10.6% upside. Intuit handily beat expectations of analysts polled by FactSet on both lines in the fiscal first quarter. Despite weakness in current-quarter revenue expectations, the company reaffirmed its full-year outlook. More broadly, Kash said the company is undergoing changes to become stronger. He said concerns were alleviated in the print, while excitement mounted around the business opportunity tied to AI. “The company is in the early stages of a strategic shift that should see it focus on revenue per customer growth unlocking margin expansion vs traditionally being a unit growth company,” he wrote to clients. “This will be driven by TAM expansion, cross-sell and up-sell of new higher priced online services, and international growth. The timing of this shift is ideal, in our view, as the pandemic has fundamentally prioritized both consumers’ and businesses’ adoption of digital services.” Kash said Intuit could see weakness in the short term due to the macro environment. But the analyst said the company’s critical nature and mix of recurring payments in the revenue model should create a more predictable growth cycle. — Alex Harring 7:50 a.m. ET: Schwab could rally 30% as Fed rate hike cycle turns, Piper Sandler says The light at the end of the tunnel is getting close for Charles Schwab and the stock could rebound in 2024, according to Piper Sandler. Analyst Patrick Moley said in a note to clients Wednesday that the outlook is improving for the brokerage firm, especially as it looks like the Federal Reserve is done with rate hikes. “While SCHW is not completely out of the woods yet & future Fed rate hikes could lead to an acceleration of cash sorting activity, we think sentiment should improve into year-end,” the note said. Shares of Schwab are down more 30% year to date. The brokerage firm was one of the financial stocks that fell during the short regional bank crisis earlier this year, as investors worried about customers pulling their cash out of low interest accounts. But that so-called cash sorting was tied to the Fed rate hikes, and it could stop completely or even reverse if the central bank starts to lower rates. SCHW YTD mountain SCHW in 2023 “The forward curve is currently projecting 100bps of Fed rate cuts in 2024 with the first cut occurring in May. Should this play out, we believe SCHW will benefit as lower rates would likely translate to a further slowdown and/or reversal in client cash sorting (aka ‘net cash realignment’) and allow for a potentially faster than expected paydown of [short term] funding balances (expected by YE25) + [net interest margin] expansion,” the note said. Piper Sandler has an overweight rating and a $75 per share price target on Schwab, which is 34% above where the stock closed on Tuesday. — Jesse Pound 7:38 a.m. ET: Buy this underperforming financial stock entering 2024, TD Cowen says Discover Financial Services is a top pick heading into 2024, according to TD Cowen. Analyst Moshe Orenbuch has an outperform rating. Orenbuch’s $100 price target reflects a potential gain of 14.7% in the next year. Orenbuch said the market is “over-bearish” on the trajectory of credit quality, especially given that the delinquency rate should slow down in the first half of next year. Discover should also be able to sustain above-average credit card growth. But regulatory risks weigh on the stock, the analyst said. “DFS’ shares continue to see pushback on credit due to seasoning as well as the regulatory overhang,” Orenbuch said. “The company has a strong brand, and we believe the regulatory issues are improving and will not damage its relationship with customers.” Discover shares have slid more than 10% since 2023 began. — Alex Harring 7:35 a.m. ET: Morgan Stanley says Chinese internet stock Tuya could see an ‘inflection point’ Morgan Stanley turned bullish on Tuya as the Chinese internet company signaled a return to growth. Analyst Yang Liu improved his rating to overweight from equal weight and hiked his price target for U.S.-listed shares by 90 cents to $2.70. With the new target, Liu believes the penny stock can rally 41.4% in the next 12 months from Tuesday’s close. The upgrade came of the heels of the company’s Tuesday earnings report. “3Q23 marks the second consecutive quarter of solid revenue beats, and the outlook is skewed to the upside,” Liu said. “We see enough evidence to turn positive from skeptical.” “After two years of demand downcycle and channel destocking, we think an inflection point is finally coming,” the analyst added. Shares popped nearly 9% before the bell on Wednesday, bringing the share price above the $2 mark. — Alex Harring 7:13 a.m. ET: Wall Street analysts react to CrowdStrike earnings Bank of America and Morgan Stanley adjusted expectations for CrowdStrike shares following the cybersecurity company’s latest earnings release. CrowdStrike beat expectations of analysts polled by LSEG on both lines for the third quarter and issues solid current-quarter guidance. The stock, which has already soared more than 100% this year, climbed more than 2% in Wednesday premarket trading. Following the report, some on Wall Street raised their price targets for shares of the cybersecurity stock. In addition to having a buy rating, Bank of America’s Tal Liani hiked his target by $60 to $250. That reflects an upside of 17.7%. CRWD YTD mountain CRWD in 2023 But Morgan Stanley’s Hamza Fodderwala is less optimistic. Fodderwala has an equal-weight rating. While he did increase his target by $16 to $203, the new one still implies shares could slide 4.4% over the next year. ‘While perhaps not entirely clean, FQ3 results were overall solid and the longer term thesis remains intact,” he said. But, “with the > 30% run-up into the print and valuation nearing 40X EV/NTM FCF, we think the stock is reflecting much of the upside already and look to garner more confidence in forward estimates upside.” — Alex Harring 7:01 a.m. ET: Bank of America expects these two stocks to join the S & P 500 in the next 6 months Private equity companies KKR and Apollo Global Management should join the S & P 500 within the next half year, Bank of America predicted. Analyst Craig Siegenthaler said the two will likely be the next addition after Blackstone earned a spot in September. That’s expected in part because the broad index is underweight technology and financials, he said. — Alex Harring 6:57 a.m. ET: BofA names Union Pacific a sector pick Analyst Ken Hoexter reiterated his buy rating while upping the price target by $6 to $264. Hoexter’s new target reflects a potential upside of 19.3%. Hoexter noted management said during a meeting that it plans to have the best margins among Class I rails at one point. But the company still remains focused on moving carloads in an increasingly efficient way to increase top-line growth, the analyst added. “UP remains one of (our) top Transport picks,” Hoexter said. — Alex Harring 6:50 a.m. ET: Buy AstraZeneca entering 2024, TD Cowen says TD Cowen named AstraZeneca a top pick heading into 2024, pointing to the company’s above-average strength within the biopharmaceutical sector. In addition to the best-pick honor, analyst Steve Scala has an outperform rating and $86 price target. His target implies shares can rally 35.9% over Tuesday’s close. Scala said the company has many “promising” products and pipeline work across multiple high-growth markets. That’s helped by the durable revenue outlook of Alexion, the rate disease unit. In all, he said AstraZeneca’s earnings growth is above industry average and could have further upside. “AZN’s outlook is one of the strongest in pharma, yet the valuation is on par with the pharma sector average,” he said in a Wednesday note to clients. Shares advanced more than 1% during Wednesday’s premarket. The stock has underperformed this year, falling more than 6% since 2023 began. — Alex Harring 6:26 a.m. ET: Trends signal slowdown ahead for Airbnb, Jefferies says Jefferies has moved to the sidelines on Airbnb as concerns around bookings and platform traffic outweigh the potential opportunity to get a larger share of homeowner profit. Analyst John Colantuoni downgraded the vacation platform’s shares to hold from buy and pulled back his price target by $15 to $140. Despite the cut, Colantuoni’s new price target still reflects a 9.8% upside from where the stock finished Tuesday. He said that expectations for slowing bookings, worsening platform traffic and a decrease in the average daily rate all bode poorly. While a potential increase in how much money the company takes from homeowners is a bright spot, Colantuoni said that upside is already priced in to shares. “A recent slowdown in Bookings increases risk of downside to consensus, making the story more reliant on potential take rate expansion,” he said. “However, our deep dive suggests the monetization opportunity is largely priced in.” Shares slid more than 1% in Wednesday premarket trading. The stock has rallied more than 49% in 2023. — Alex Harring 6:24 a.m. ET: EV makers should be on alert as Toyota ramps up electric ambitions, Bernstein says Toyota has become aware of the possibilities around electric vehicles — and companies in the space should be worried, Bernstein said. Analyst Neil Beveridge doesn’t cover Toyota, but noted the automaker’s plans to become a leading electric vehicle and battery maker by 2030. He said this has “implications for the entire EV supply chain.” Toyota is a “sleeping giant, which has now awoken to the opportunity of being a major player in the EV supply chain,” he wrote to clients Wednesday. “While Toyota has previously backed hydrogen and fuel cell technology, its attention has clearly shifted in favour of electric vehicles. This has enormous implications for almost every company within the EV value chain given the scale of the ambition.” — Alex Harring 6:02 a.m. ET: UBS keeps buy rating on Exxon Mobil heading into company update UBS is staying bullish on Exxon Mobil ahead of a webcast on the oil giant. Analyst Josh Silverstein reiterated his buy rating on the stock in the runup to the Dec. 6 corporate update. Silverstein shaved $4 off his price target to $138, now projecting an upside of 32.8%. “We see the event reinforcing our view that XOM is best positioned to outperform the sector this upcycle,” he told clients. Silverstein noted that additional details on the acquisition of Pioneer Natural Resources , an all-stock deal valued at about $59.5 billion, could be limited. Still, he said upstream business growth, capacity additions that can improve earnings power and higher capital returns at current oil prices are all reasons to be optimistic. Meanwhile, he said Exxon Mobil’s low-carbon investments can provide growth potential in the longer term. 6 a.m. ET: Hawaiian landlord has positives, but no clear catalyst for shares, JMP says There’s reasons to like Hawaiian real estate stock Alexander & Baldwin , but near-term debt maturing and lukewarm growth expectations may stymy share growth in the short term, according to JMP. Analyst Mitch Germain initiated coverage at a market perform rating. Germain doesn’t have a price target for the stock. Germain said the higher barrier to entry for the Hawaiian real estate market is a positive for the landlord. He also said corporate simplification efforts have completely tied forward earnings to property ownership and management, making the company more similar to a real estate investment trust. He also said that a recent leadership transition creates an opportunity to further improve the strategy and make the company larger. But the analyst said that with “limited” prospects for earnings growth and near-term debt maturities, there is not a clear catalyst to push shares to the upside in the immediate future. Shares have slid more than 12% this year, underperforming the broader market. — Alex Harring 5:42 a.m. ET: Piper Sandler moves to sidelines on Hershey, citing higher cocoa prices Elevated cocoa prices are souring the outlook for Hershey , according to Piper Sandler. Analyst Michael Lavery downgraded the stock to neutral from overweight and slashed his price target by $40 to $200. His new target reflects a belief that shares can climb 5.8% from Tuesday’s close. Those moves comes as confection companies grapple with what appears to be higher cocoa prices for some time, Lavery said. A shortage is tied to heavy rainfall in the Ivory Coast and cocoa swollen shoot virus disease in Ghana. “We don’t know how to best capture all of these elements, but we consider the magnitude of the cocoa cost increase, its likely stickiness, and elasticities to pose enough risk to our outlook to make us cautious,” Lavery said. “Even with HSY’s best in class pricing power, we worry that the consumer environment is too difficult for further significant pricing actions.” The company could see a $500-million hit to the cost of goods sold in 2025 due to the hiked prices, the analyst warned. That’s despite the fact that Hershey sources through multiple contracts, he added. Hershey has struggled this year, with shares down more than 18% in 2023. — Alex Harring 5:34 a.m. ET: Morgan Stanley hikes PDD price target, calls stock a top pick following earnings Morgan Stanley named Chinese e-commerce name PDD Holdings a top pick following its latest quarterly earnings report. Analyst Eddy Wang said the stock is the firm’s favorite of the Chinese e-commerce sector. Wang also raised his price target for U.S.-listed shares by $30 to $170, implying upside of 22.3% from Tuesday’s close. The discount retailer said revenue soared past the consensus forecast of analysts polled by LSEG in the third quarter. Wang was particularly excited about the performance of Temu, its global ecommerce business. “PDD’s strong 3Q23 results imply both sustainable market share expansion of its domestic e-Commerce business and strong growth momentum of … Temu,” Wang told clients. “These advantages will sustain into 4Q23 and 2024.” The results come amid a strong year for PDD’s U.S.-listed shares. They have already surged more than 70% since 2023 began. PDD YTD mountain PDD in 2023 — Alex Harring 5:34 a.m. ET: Bernstein calls Taiwan Semiconductor a ‘best idea’ for 2024, raises price target Bernstein analyst Mark Li named semiconductor giant Taiwan Semiconductor a “best idea” for the new year, calling the company a leader in the space and raising its price target on the stock. He also said the chipmaker will be able to withstand lower iPhone orders in the first quarter of 2024. “Though Apple indicated record iPhone sales in China in the September quarter, many third-party market researchers such as Counterpoint, Canalys, GfK, etc. all reported iPhone shipment in China is suffering a YoY drop,” Li wrote. “We attribute that to the share shift to Huawei who is benefiting from the homemade 7nm mobile SoC and patriotism.” “Despite the risk from iPhone, 1Q24 revenue will still grow YoY, reversing the YoY drop seen in all four quarters of 2023, thanks to the inventory restocking broadly seen in many applications, especially in Android smartphones,” the analyst said. “This also explains why the QoQ revenue change from 4Q23 to 1Q24 will be well within the seasonal range, as the drop from iPhone is balanced by the increase elsewhere.” The analyst also hiked his price target on U.S.-listed shares to $125 per share from $113. The new target implies upside of more than 27%. Shares are up more than 31% for the year. — Fred Imbert
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