Inside the Market’s roundup of some of today’s key analyst actions.
Macquarie’s Tony Lesiak has become the latest analyst to downgrade Barrick Gold Corp., as the company continues to trade just above the multi-year lows it struck last month when bullion prices plunged.
Mr. Lesiak now rates Barrick as “underperform,” which is the equivalent of a sell rating, down from “neutral.”
He called Barrick a mature company with few opportunities to grow, especially given already high debt levels, according to StreetInsider.com. He also wasn't impressed with new terms that were agreed to earlier this month with the Dominican Republic over the Pueblo Viejo mine.
The deal resolved an acrimonious dispute over whether the Caribbean country received a fair royalty deal. The new agreement will increase the rate of payments to the Dominican Republic, helping the government address its budget deficit by providing an additional $1.5-billion (U.S.) over the life of the mine, Canadian Press had earlier reported.
Target: Mr. Lesiak cut his target to $18 (Canadian) from $21.50. The average target on the Street is $28.79, according to Bloomberg data.
Canaccord Genuity analyst Yuri Lynk cut his target on Strongco Corp. after the industrial equipment distributor reported weaker-than-expected first quarter results.
“Strongco witnessed an overall year-over-year decline in market activity in the quarter, especially in March,” he said. “We believe the near-term equipment outlook in Alberta and Quebec could be depressed.”
Target: The analyst downgraded Strongco to a “hold” rating, and reduced his target by $2 a share to $5. The average Street target is $4.95 a share.
TD Securities analyst Daniel Earle reduced his target on First Majestic Silver Corp. after the silver producer cut its capital budget to $162-million for this year from $192-million in response to falling commodity prices. The company’s solid first-quarter results reinforces “our view that the company is a best-in-class silver producer able to incrementally grow production, while limiting operating cost escalation,” he said.
Target: Mr. Earle, who maintains a “buy” rating, cut his target by $1.50 a share to $16.50. The average Street target is $19.52 a share.
Shares in Jack In The Box Inc. have nearly doubled since the start of 2012. While further gains are likely ahead, it would require more earnings improvement and better same-store sales from its Qdoba Mexican Grill, said RBC Dominion Securities analyst Larry Miller.
He downgraded the stock from a “top pick” rating to “outperform,” commenting that these improvements may take some time.
Target: Mr. Miller raised his price target to $45 (U.S.) from $38. The average target is $40.
RBC Dominion Securities analyst Tal Woolley upgraded Intertape Polymer Group Inc. to “outperform” from “sector perform,” citing improved confidence that earnings will grow.
Mr. Woolley believes profits will be more predictable going forward thanks to improving gross margins, lower interest costs, and modest revenue growth.
Target: Mr. Woolley raised his price target by $2 to $14, which is also the average Street target.
For more analyst actions, breaking investing news and analysis, follow Darcy Keith on Twitter at @ eyeonequities