Inside the Market's roundup of some of today's key analyst actions. This file will be updated during the trading day.
Cogeco Cable Inc. has its challenges, but the company continues to post substantial growth in both free cash flow and shareholder dividends, Canaccord Genuity analyst Dvai Ghose said.
On Friday, the company posted fiscal fourth-quarter results, which were in line with analysts' expectations for profits, but easily beat free-cash flow estimates.
The beat was due, in part, to lower-than-expected cash capital expenditures and declining losses in the company's enterprise division, Mr. Ghose said.
The strong cash flow was used to raise dividends by 17 per cent to an annual figure of $1.40 per share.
"While this only equates to a current dividend yield of 2.2 per cent, the dividend is becoming more meaningful for shareholders given significant historic dividend-per-share growth," Mr. Ghose said.
Meanwhile, Cogeco shares are trading at a meaningful discount to the company's closest Canadian competitors, the Canadian telco average, and the U.S. cable company average, making the stock "too cheap to ignore," Mr. Ghose said.
He raised his target price on Cogeco to $78 (Canadian) from $71 and reiterated a "buy" rating, while adding the stock to Canaccord Genuity's "focus list" - its top investing ideas.
BMO Nesbitt Burns also raised its target price on Cogeco to $68 from $64, while CIBC World Markets raised its target to $70 from $65.
The analyst consensus price target for Cogeco Cable over the next year is $69.54, according to Bloomberg data.
Constellation Software Inc. appears to have slowed down in both organic growth and its pace of acquisitions, but has showed consistent improvement in profitability, BMO Nesbitt Burns analyst Thanos Moschopoulos said.
The company's third-quarter results, released last week, showed year-over-year organic growth of about 4 per cent, compared with the 6 per cent to 7 per cent rate seen in the first half of the year.
Meanwhile, mergers and acquisitions are tracking below the pace expected by analysts, Mr. Moschopoulos said.
"However, Constellation's margins continue to surprise on the upside, and overall we suspect that Street estimates will be revised modestly upwards following these results," he said.
He raised his target price on Constellation's stock to $327 (Canadian) from $296, while maintaining a "market perform" rating.
A number of other analysts also raised their target prices: RBC Dominion Securities to $320 from $275, Scotia to $335 from $304, and TD Securities to $360 from $300.
The average price target among analysts is now $326.44, acccording to Bloomberg data.
PrairieSky Royalty Ltd.'s results from its first full quarter amid a tumultuous energy market were mixed, but good enough to reaffirm a "positive view of PrairieSky's operational strategy and cash generation potential," BMO Nesbitt Burns analyst Gordon Tait said.
The company's production levels for the third quarter were slightly below estimates, while cash flow surprised to the upside.
"The company benefits from a relatively stable decline rate that requires lower levels of reinvestment to maintain revenue and fund a growing dividend," Mr. Tait said. "In a low commodity price environment, we believe PrairieSky has the ability to maintain payouts to shareholders given it has no capex requirements, no opex obligations, and no abandonment liabilities."
He lowered his target price to $41 (Canadian) from $43 to reflect lower production estimates, but reiterated an "outperform" rating.
"We believe PrairieSky is a good choice for investors with a long-term investment horizon looking for an income stream derived from oil and gas properties," Mr. Tait said.
The analyst consensus price target for PrairieSky Royalty over the next year is $40.36, according to Thomson Reuters data.
The contract drilling business remains in uncertain territory amid falling energy prices, but some stocks in the space have been sold off excessively, Raymond James analyst Andrew Bradford said.
"We acknowledge there is potential for more near-term downside as the market momentum runs its course," Mr. Bradford said. But a pair of Canadian smaller-cap contract drillers now look attractively valued, he said.
Savanna Energy Services Corp. is close to record lows on a price-to-book basis, and is "fundamentally oversold," he said. He lowered his target price on the stock to $7.75 (Canadian) from $8.75, while reiterating an "outperform" rating.
Meanwhile, Western Energy Services Corp. has also been traded down to historically low levels relative to tangible book value, he said. He lowered his target price on the stock to $10.50 (Canadian) from $12 while maintaining a "strong buy" recommendation.
Cardinal Energy Ltd. offers the "ultimate in dividend sustainability," says Dundee Securities analyst Chad Ellison.
Cardinal's third-quarter 2014 results were right in line with guidance, noted Mr. Ellison. Capital expenditure came in at $9.9-million, just under his $10-million estimate, while net debt was $60.2-million, below his $65.8-million forecast. Operating costs of $23.80 per barrel of oil equivalent hit his forecast to the penny.
"We view Cardinal as the ultimate in dividend sustainability and believe the lowest payout ratio and cleanest balance sheet in the sector will continue to attract favour in the market," he said.
Mr. Ellison maintains his "buy" rating and cut his price target to $20 (Canadian) from $20.50 due to increased cost assumptions. The analyst consensus price target over the next year is $22.72.
In other analyst actions:
Cormark Securities downgraded Bank of Montreal to "buy" from "top pick" with a price target of $93 (Canadian).
Laurentian Bank upgraded GuestLogix to "buy" from "hold" with a price target of $1.30 (Canadian).
Bernstein downgraded Nokia to "underperform" from "market perform" and cut its price target to $6.42 (U.S.) from $7.21.
Bernstein upgraded Anadarko Petroleum to "outperform" from "market perform" with a price target of $115 (U.S.).
SunTrust Robinson downgraded Herbalife to "neutral" from "buy" with a price target of $55 (U.S.).
With files from Bloomberg