Inside the Market's roundup of some of today's key analyst actions. This file will be updated during the trading day.
Cuts to Bank of Nova Scotia's international segment have raised uncertainty about the stock's attraction as a diversifier to the Canadian market, RBC Dominion Securities analyst Darko Mihelic said.
On Tuesday, Scotia announced plans to cut 1,500 jobs, most of them in Canada, and close about 120 branches, primarily in Mexico and the Caribbean.
Known as Canada's most international bank, Scotia's foreign business previously offered an "earnings growth offset" to a slowing Canadian banking environment, Mr. Mihelic said. No longer.
"We believe our thesis for international growth is broken," he said. "We are less confident on Scotia's ability to offset the near-term challenges in the international personal and commercial segment."
The effects of the branch closures on profits is not yet known, but Mr. Mihelic said he is reducing his earnings forecasts for 2015 and 2016.
"We had previously assumed that Scotia would pursue acquisitions internationally, and we believe that while this remains a possibility, the bank's appetite for acquisitions may be somewhat diminished as it works to enhance its existing international operations," he said.
He downgraded the stock to "sector perform" from "outperform" and lowered his price target to $71 (Canadian) from $77.
CIBC World Markets also downgraded Scotia's stock to "sector perform" from "outperform," and lowered its target to $74 from $80.
"We upgraded the shares earlier this year partly under the assumption that International Banking earnings had begun to improve and would set the bank up well for F2015. After a weak Q3/F14 and now the charges it announced on Tuesday, we are less confident in that call," said CIBC analyst Robert Sedran. "We have reduced our [earnings] estimates to reflect less optimistic assumptions around asset growth, the net interest margin and operating leverage in the international business."
"Given that the shares are now trading at a group-average multiple, we believe the period of underperformance in BNS shares may be ending. However, we are not convinced that the period of outperformance is upon us at this time. As such, we are reducing our rating to sector performer," he said.
The analyst consensus price target is $75.62, according to Thomson Reuters.
Improved share price appreciation potential and a good outlook have resulted in a ratings upgrade for WestJet Airlines Ltd.
WestJet's share price has declined and its prospects still look good, says Canaccord Genuity analyst David Tyerman. He expects the company to produce 11.7 per cent average annual EPS growth from 2014-16.
"Growth should come from initiatives such as 1) margin expansion initiatives, 2) Encore regional, 3) on-going U.S. and International growth and, 4) new wide body launch down the road," he says. "Despite slightly disappointing Q3/14 results and 2015 guidance, we continue to expect good EPS growth in 2015 and beyond."
Mr. Tyerman upgraded WestJet to "buy" from "hold" and raised his target price by a dollar to $35 (Canadian). The analyst consensus price target is $36.79, according to Thomson Reuters.
Meanwhile, Raymond James downgraded its rating for WestJet to "outperform" from "strong buy" and trimmed its target to $39 from $41.50.
Avigilon Corp.'s stock has become difficult to ignore after a 55-per-cent drop from its year-to-date high to Tuesday's close, RBC Dominion Securities analyst Steve Arthur said.
Management changes and earnings volatility have weighed heavily on the company, which makes surveillance equipment. But while the valuation has been beaten up, Avigilon is "not a broken business," Mr. Arthur said.
"Operationally, the business is performing," he said. "Avigilon continues to introduce new products and integrate acquisitions to round out its broader video surveillance solution. The value proposition to the customer remains the same: a highly capable, easy-to-use video surveillance solution offered at an attractive price."
He upgraded the stock to "outperform" from "sector perform" and raised his target price to $24 (Canadian) from $23. The analyst consensus price target is $28.05, according to Thomson Reuters.
Despite an alarming drop in Detour Gold Corp.'s share price, the company is headed in the right direction, says Canaccord Genuity analyst Rahul Paul.
Mr. Paul notes that since August, Detour shares have declined by 52 per cent, underperforming the S&P/TSX Gold Index by 20 per cent, and now trade at an approximate 25 per cent discount to peers. However, he finds the risk reward trade-off attractive at current levels.
Detour has progressed enough this year to convince Mr. Paul that operating and financial risks are lower than a year ago. "The mill has performed relatively well, grades have been reconciling to the block model, dilution has been brought under control, the balance sheet is in significantly better shape following the equity raise completed this year and debt covenants have been extended," he says.
The key risk, he adds, is the price of gold. "Ultimately, management acknowledges that Detour's best hedge against a declining gold price would be to complete the mine and mill ramp-up as quickly as possible thereby increasing gold production at materially lower costs – in our view, the company appears to be headed in the right direction."
Mr. Paul is upgraded Detour to "buy" from "hold" and lowered his target price by a dollar to $11 (Canadian). The analyst consensus price target is $13.28, according to Thomson Reuters.
Linamar Corp.'s recent share price depreciation combined with a big earnings beat has made for a new buying opportunity, Canaccord Genuity analyst David Tyerman said.
On Tuesday, the auto parts manufacturer released its third-quarter earnings, which exceeded consensus profit forecasts by more than 30 per cent, and included improved guidance on profit margins.
"We are projecting good but slowing growth in earnings per share for Linamar, driven by new program launches and a recovery in Linamar's non-auto businesses but offset by slowing North American auto production volumes and only a slow recovery in European auto volumes," Mr. Tyerman said.
He upgraded Linamar to "buy" from "hold" and raised his target price to $69 (Canadian) from $61.
A number of other analysts also raised their targets on Linamar: CIBC World to $75 from $70, RBC Dominion Securities to $65 from $59, BMO Nesbitt Burns to $85 from $82, and TD Securities to $70 from $65. The analyst consensus price target is $69.86, according to Thomson Reuters.
Industrial Alliance securities downgraded Aimia to "buy" from "strong buy" and cut its price target to $19.50 (Canadian) from $20.
CIBC World Markets downgraded Bellatrix Exploration to "sector performer" from "sector outperformer" and cut its price target to $7.50 (Canadian) from $9.25. TD Securities downgraded Bellatrix to "hold" from "buy" with a price target of $6 (Canadian).
Credit Suisse boosted its price target on Dollarama to $116 (Canadian) from $100 and maintained an "outperform" rating.
CIBC World Markets cut its price target on Talisman Energy to $7.75 (U.S.) from $9.25 and maintained a "sector underperformer" rating.
FirstEnergy Capital upgraded Brookfield Renewable Energy Partners to "outperform" from "market perform" with a price target of $33 (U.S.).
Desjardins Securities raised its price target on Intact Financial to $76 (Canadian) from $70 and maintained a "hold" rating.
Cormark Securities downgraded Mawson West to "market perform" from "speculative buy" with a price target of 20 cents (Canadian).
Raymond James downgraded Goodrich Petroleum to "outperform" from "strong buy" with a price target of $12 (U.S.).
Credit Suisse cut its price target on AK Steel Holding to $5.50 (U.S.) from $9 and maintained an "underperform" rating.