Inside the Market's roundup of some of today's key analyst actions. This file will be updated during the trading day.
Desjardins Securities cut price targets on a number of Canadian companies in the engineering and construction and heavy equipment sectors in light of the deleterious effect that lower commodity prices will have on sales.
"Overall, we continue to favour E&C over heavy equipment in light of the declining conditions in the resources market and weakening Canadian dollar," said analyst Benoit Poirier. "Nevertheless, we still prefer aerospace and transportation over E&C names, given the positive impacts from lower fuel prices and the favourable exchange rate."
Wajax Corp. had its target price reduced by the most in its peer group, to $29 (Canadian) from $36. "We would recommend investors reduce their positions ahead of a potential dividend cut in early 2015," said the analyst, who kept his "hold" rating on the stock. Last week, analysts at TD Securities made the same call on Wajax's dividend.
SNC-Lavalin Group Inc., whose share price has fallen by 30 per cent since early August, might warrant attention from "patient, value-oriented investors," said Mr. Poirier. He kept a "buy" rating on the stock while lowering his price target to $56 (Canadian) from $62.
Finning International Inc. and Aecon Group Inc. also had their price targets trimmed at Desjardins Securities.
However, Mr. Poirier did hike his price target on Stantec Inc., one of his most preferred names in the space, modestly to $39 (Canadian) from $38.50 while maintaining a "buy" rating on the stock.
"We like STN's meaningful exposure to the U.S. market and believe that concerns over its exposure to oil & gas and infrastructure spending in Western Canada may prove overly pessimistic," he said.
For dividend-hungry investors, the analyst recommends WSP Global Inc., which boasts a yield just shy of 5 per cent. He left his price target at $45 (Canadian) and kept a "buy" rating on the stock.
Amazon.com Inc. has become attractively valued following a 14-per-cent decline since late November, says Citigroup.
In 2014, the stock bottomed out on two occasions when it was hovering around $290 (U.S.), close to its current level.
"We are upgrading Amazon to buy for three main reasons: 1) We believe Amazon's valuation represents a good risk/reward as we see valuation support near $300 and upside to at least $354 without assuming multiple expansion; 2) When looked at on a gross profit basis, top-line growth has remained strong (e.g., retail segment GP +25 per cent in CY14), and Q4 online holiday datapoints seem to bode well for 4Q14 results; and, 3) We believe margins can reverse the recent trend and rise in CY15 as we do not expect the multiple factors that came into play in 2014 to worsen in 2015," said analyst Mark May.
Mr. May believes some of the headwinds affecting the company in 2014 won't get worse this year, and may start to dissipate.
The analyst upgraded the stock to "buy" from "neutral" and raised his target price to $354 (U.S.) from $325.
The results from Argonaut Gold Inc.'s preliminary economic assessment of an asset in Mexico were a pleasant surprise, according to Desjardins Securities.
The company estimates that it can produce 488,000 ounces of gold and 3.8 million ounces of silver at San Agustin over a 10-and-a-half year time frame.
This project "is currently Argonaut's best avenue to pursue production growth," said analyst Michael Parkin. "We estimate production could begin in mid-2016 after a six- to nine-month permitting period and six- to nine-month construction period."
Mr. Parkin kept a "hold" rating on the stock while upping his price target to $3 from $2.70.
Canadian market volatility has raised the appeal of Onex Corp., which should benefit from a high level of exposure to the U.S. economy, RBC Dominion Securities analyst Geoffrey Kwan said.
"Although we view Onex's shares as fairly valued, in the context of current market volatility and uncertainty, we believe the stock could perform well until current volatility and uncertainty subside," he said.
The company's considerable cash reserves also represent future upside to net asset value, giving Onex plenty of opportunity to build on its track record of acquisitions in its private equity business, Mr. Kwan said.
He upgraded the stock to "sector perform" from "underperform" and raised his target price to $74 (Canadian) from $66.
Sirius XM Canada Holdings Inc. had a mixed fiscal first quarter, but the disproportionate pullback in the stock has opened up a buying opportunity, said Canaccord Genuity analyst Aravinda Galappatthige.
On Monday, the company posted results that met analysts' expectations on revenue, beat on earnings, and included much more customer churn than expected.
"While we expect churn to remain high in [the fiscal second quarter], we do expect some respite in the back half which would result in more meaningful subscription growth," Mr. Galappatthige said.
"While we do expect the stock to remain volatile, particularly through [the second quarter], we remain optimistic on this name over the longer run."
With the stock down by about 23 per cent since the previous quarter, Mr. Galappatthige upgraded the stock to "buy" from "hold" and maintained a $7 (Canadian) target price. The analyst consensus price target is $7.38.
In other analyst actions
Raymond James upgraded Goldcorp to "strong buy" from "outperform" and maintained a $29 (U.S.) price target.
Raymond James upgraded Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers to "outperform" from "market perform" and raised its price target to $30 (U.S.) from $25.
Credit Suisse upgraded Apple to "outperform" from "neutral" and raised its price target to $130 (U.S.) from $110.
Jefferies downgraded Abbott Laboratories to "hold" from "buy" with a 12-month target price of $50 (U.S.) per share.
HSBC downgraded Yamana Gold Inc. to "neutral" from "overweight" with a $5 (U.S.) price target.
JPMorgan put out a new "underweight" rating on ConocoPhillips with a target price of $68 (U.S.).
JPMorgan downgraded Cenovus Energy Inc. to "neutral" from "overweight" with a 12-month target price of $25 (Canadian).
Raymond James raised Goldcorp Inc. to a "strong buy" from "outperform" with a target price of $29 (U.S.).
SunTrust Robinson downgraded Juniper Networks Inc. to "neutral" from "buy" with a target price of $24 (U.S.).
CIBC downgraded Mosaic Co. to "sector underperform" from "sector perform" with a target price of $47 (U.S.).
BMO Capital Markets downgraded Ritchie Bros Auctioneers Inc. to "market perform" from "outperform" with a target price of $27 (U.S.).
Beacon Securities rated RDM Corp. a new "buy" with a target price of $4 (Canadian).
JPMorgan rated Suncor Energy Inc. "overweight" with a target price of $40 (Canadian).
B. Riley raised its rating on Tilly's Inc. to "buy" from "neutral" with a target price of $15 (U.S.).
Canaccord Genuity raised its rating on Sirius XM Canada Holdings Inc. to "buy" from "hold" with a target price of $7 (Canadian).
TD Securities raised its rating on Sirius XM Canada Holdings Inc. to "action list buy" from "buy" with a target price of $8 (Canadian).
With files from Bloomberg