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People wait on a street in front of an Apple store as they await sales of the new iPad in the Apple store in Munich March 16, 2012.Reuters

Inside the Market's roundup of some of today's key analyst actions. This post will be updated with more analyst commentary during the trading day.

Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Brian White thinks shares in Apple Inc. will rise more than 50 per cent over the next year with the help of a batch of new and improved consumer products.

He initiated coverage of the tech giant today with a "buy" rating and $777 (U.S.) price target. Apple shares are up about 2 per cent in early trading today, trading near $500 (U.S.).

As points out, Mr. White is already known for his bullish views on Apple. He was formerly with Topeka Capital Markets, where he at one point had an $1,111 price target.

While the stock has shown a bit of life of late, it's still down about 8 per cent this year. But Mr. White believes "the stock is in the midst of a recovery," which will become more apparent as Apple refreshes existing products, gains market share with existing devices and pounces into new market opportunities.

"There has been much concern around Apple's pace of innovation over the past year; however, we remind investors that it took Apple six years to introduce a new product category after the iPod and it took three years after the iPhone was introduced to unveil the iPad. As such, if Apple were to introduce 'iTV' or "iWatch" over the next year, this would be slightly ahead of historical cycles," the website quoted him as saying.

Mr. White also believes Apple's current valuation is attractive.

Apple is scheduled to hold an event at its headquarters on Sept. 10 in which it is widely expected to announce new models of the iPhone. It is also holding a near-simultaneous briefing in China, which has fuelled speculation that it may announce a long-awaited deal with China Mobile Ltd. It's the world's biggest mobile phone company by customers and the only one of China's big carriers that does not have an agreement with Apple.

Target: The average price target among analysts is $530.71, according to Bloomberg data.


National Bank Financial analyst Kris Thompson slashed his second-quarter BlackBerry 10 shipments forecast to 3 million units from 5 million.

That would still be higher than the 2.7 million in shipments in the first quarter of the new BlackBerry devices, but during that period that ended June 1, it had yet to sell the Q10 device running on the new software in the important U.S. enterprise market.

"We have not heard much buzz around large Q10 deployments in Q2," he said in a research note today. "BlackBerry's publicly announced strategic review may be based on poor BB10 uptake."

He thinks the "for sale" sign that's effectively on BlackBerry Ltd. will be a big problem for the company's efforts to grow smartphone sales.

"BlackBerry is in the headlines most days given the company's rise and demise in the important smartphone market. Our view is that enterprises will further delay implementations and even die-hard consumers will catch wind that BlackBerry is for sale and not commit to the platform," Mr. Thompson said. "The public for sale sign may be what torpedoes management's valiant efforts to resuscitate a dying brand."

Target: Mr. Thompson maintained an "underperform" rating and $8 (U.S.) price target. The average target is $10.62.


Microsoft Corp.'s $7.2-billion deal to buy Nokia's mobile handset unit is getting the thumbs down from some analysts this morning.

Morgan Stanley downgraded Microsoft to "equal weight" from "overweight," while BMO Nesbitt Burns cut its price target to $35 (U.S.) from $37.

"While we're sympathetic to Microsoft's claim that the move was partly defensive, and while the $7-billion price (9 per cent of Microsoft's balance of cash and equivalents) doesn't preclude Microsoft from moving forward with other strategic moves, we don't love the deal," commented BMO analyst Karl Keirstead.

"We believe the price tag was high, the target of 50 million Lumia unit sales in fiscal 2015 seems doable but may be a stretch goal, ASP (average selling price) declines could undermine Microsoft's EPS accretion analysis, and the mix shift to hardware will dilute Microsoft's margins. Rather than pivot toward Apple, Google, and Samsung in the consumer IT war, we were hoping that Microsoft would instead become more enterprise-centric," he said.

Mr. Keirstead maintained a "market perform" rating on Microsoft.

Morgan Stanely analyst Keith Weiss said the deal will add "sticky costs" and challenge Microsoft to vertically integrate. Mr. Weiss gave three scenarios for the company, which values the shares anywhere between $18 and $46.

Target: The average target among analysts is $34.85.


BMO's Mr. Kiestead upgraded Nokia Corp. to "market perform" from "underperform," calling the deal "very positive" for the Finnish company. He notes that Nokia retains its patent portfolio and will receive a 20-per-cent boost to its revenue with payments from Microsoft.

"NOK got way more for the device business than we would have expected. Our liquidity concerns go away, and we are left with a more stable wireless infrastructure business, and growing royalty revenues," he wrote in a note to clients.

Target: Mr. Kiestead raised his price target to $5 from $3. The average target is $5.20.


Raymond James analyst Andrew Bradford upgraded Trinidad Drilling Ltd. to "strong buy" from "outperform," after the company signed a 3-year contract to provide and operate oil rigs for Halliburton Co. in Saudi Arabia.

Mr. Bradford said Trinidad has a chance to do more work for Halliburton outside Canada and the United States, providing a "substantial" boost to the company's growth.

"High performance rigs are very scarce in most international markets and we think that Halliburton has plenty of incentive to use higher performance equipment on several projects in Saudi [Arabia] and Mexico going forward," he said.

Target: Mr. Bradford raised his price target to $11.25 from $10.75. The average target is $11.60.


Canaccord Genuity analyst Mark Rothschild reduced his price target on Dundee International REIT while maintaining a "hold" rating on the units.

Client Deutsche Post is ending some leases next year and Dundee was forced to reduce rents to keep the courier company from walking away from its remaining agreements. Mr. Rothchild said Dundee faces a small reduction in cash flow, but much of the rental pace will be occupied by other clients before it is vacated in 2014.

Target: Mr. Rothschild reduced his price target to $9.75 from $10.25. The average target is $10.20.


Other analyst actions today include:

UBS downgraded Centerra Gold Inc. to "neutral" from buy but raised its price target to $6 (Canadian) from $5. It cited recent outperformance against peers.

UBS upgraded Nevsun Resources Ltd. to "buy" from "neutral" citing the stock's valuation, and kept its price target at $4.50 (Canadian).

Bank of America upgraded Best Buy Co. to "neutral" from "underperform" and now sees shares reaching $38.

Raymond James downgraded Novus Energy Inc. to "market perform" from "outperform" and raised its price target to $1.18 from $1.

Canaccord Genuity added Long Run Exploration Ltd. to its favourite stock picks list and raised its target to $6.50 from $6.25.

BMO Nesbitt Burns raised its price target on Osisko Mining Corp. to $8 from $6 and reiterated an "outperform" rating.


For more analyst actions, breaking investing news and analysis, follow Darcy Keith on Twitter at @eyeonequities