Inside the Market's roundup of some of today's key analyst actions. This file will be updated often during the trading day so check back for new details.
Quebecor Inc.'s continued windfall from iPhone 6 sales and momentum in cable subscriptions have Credit Suisse analyst Robert Peters reiterating his "outperform" rating and bumping up his target price.
"We remain constructive on Quebecor owing to its well positioned cable platform, wireless leverage, and reasonable valuation," the analyst said.
Mr. Peters noted that Quebecor is trading at 6.8-times 2016 earnings versus its peers at 7.1-times earnings.
He stepped up his target price to $33 from $30. Consensus is $34.96 according to Thomson Reuters.
The Quebec communications and media giant Wednesday reported total revenue for the fourth quarter of $989.4-million and said adjusted income increased 3.5 per cent to $50.3-million, or 41 cents per share,below analyst projections of 51 cents per share but up from 39 cents per share in the same quarter last year.
Chevron Corp. is in a good position to meet the industry challenge of rising energy demands and declining oil prices, according to Credit Suisse AG analyst Edward Westlake.
"With a higher share of longer lived assets and a large, lower-cost U.S. business, Chevron is relatively well placed," said Mr. Westake. "To the extent the bearish consensus proves wrong, Chevron offers substantial oil price upside leverage."
On Tuesday, Chevron reiterated a plan for 20-per-cent volume growth through 2017 with rising margins and a steep drop in project-related capital expenditures. The analyst does warn that there may be downside bias to capital spending estimates in the case of sustained deflation.
Mr. Westlake projects the dividend is covered at a Brent price of $70 (U.S.) a barrel, seeing that plan as intramarginal and the dividend "defendable." He expects a 4-per-cent yield, rising production and cashflow margins beyond 2017.
The analyst raised his EPS estimate for 2017 from $8.34 to $10.39.
The analyst maintained his "neutral" rating and his target price of $115 (U.S.). The consensus is $112.70, according to Thomson Reuters.
Macquarie Capital Markets Canada Ltd. analyst Robert Hope is confident in Pembina Pipeline Corp.'s long-term growth profile. The analyst is upgrading the stock to "outperform" from "neutral."
The analyst thinks commodity prices are providing an opportunity, with recent underperformance making the stock attractive.
Mr. Hope thinks Pembina will continue to secure growth projects despite low commodity prices and perhaps even shake loose some assets and begin looking for new acquisitions.
The analyst maintained his target price of $48. Consensus is $48.62, according to Thomson Reuters.
Chinook Energy "is very uniquely positioned on the strength of its balance sheet," said Raymond James analyst Kurt Molnar as the company has been conservative with its capital spending and has cut costs.
The company had working capital of $28.8-million at the end of the year, which is expected to increase to between $40-million to $45-million at the end of the first quarter of 2015. In addition to the positive working capital, Chinook has $125 million of undrawn credit lines such that the company can try to strategically acquire assets in 2015 or can ramp up spending via the drillbit early in 2016," the analyst said.
Mr. Molnar reiterated his "outperform" rating on the stock and increased his target price to $1.65 from $1.50. The consensus is $1.61.
The brand reach of Under Armour Inc. has broadened impressively from its training and compression clothing roots, according to UBS analyst Michael Binetti.
Mr. Binetti says the company received a "significant boost" from its marquee Brand House store in New York City, and he's optimistic about the recently open outlet in Chicago.
Given their success, he feels the company's "refined retail strategy" enables a rollout out of a comprehensive mall store strategy as well as openings in other prime locations, including Europe, in the near future.
The analyst is maintaining his "neutral" rating and raising his price target from $68 to $77 (U.S.). The consensus is $76.78.
Credit Suisse analyst Robert Spingarn calls Orbital ATK Inc. "an exciting margin and cash flow story which will support a favourable (and balanced) capital allocation strategy."
In February, Alliant Techsystems Inc. completed the spinoff of its sporting goods business, Vista Outdoor, and then merged with Orbital Science Corp. to create Orbital ATK, a $5-billion aerospace and defence company.
Mr. Spingarn predicts the new company should see revenue growth of 4 to 5 per cent, supported by a strong backlog and anticipated revenue synergies. He also expects EPS growth of 12 per cent to 15 per cent based on cost synergies and share repurchases and given its strong cash generation profile. He thinks Orbital's free cash flow should exceed 100 per cent of net income annually.
"OA is well positioned in a bottoming defence market and a growing commercial space market," Mr. Spingarn says.
The analyst is maintaining his "outperform" rating and raising his target price to $87 from $61.04. The consensus is $109.57.
In other analyst actions:
CWC Energy Services Corp. was downgraded to "sector perform" from "outperform" at Alta Corp. Capital. The 12-month target price is 35 cents (Canadian) per share.
Intertain Group Ltd. was rated new "buy" at Cantor Fitzgerald. The 12-month target price is $28 (Canadian) per share.
Toromont Industries Ltd. was downgraded to "hold" from "buy" at Edward Jones.
Great Ajax Corp. was rated new "buy" at Sterne Agee & Leach. The 12-month target price is $16 (U.S.) per share. The real estate investment trust was also rated new "outperform" at FBR Capital Markets. The 12-month target price is $17.50 (U.S.) per share.
Crane Co. was rated new "hold" at Stifel by equity analyst Nathan Jones.
EMC Corp. was downgraded to "market perform" from "outperform" at Wells Fargo.
Energy Recovery Inc. was downgraded to "hold" from "accumulate" at Ardour. The 12-month target price is $3.50 (U.S.) per share.
Five Below Inc. was raised to "buy" from "neutral" at MKM Partners. The 12-month target price is $35 (U.S.) per share.
Jason Industries Inc. was rated new "buy" at Stifel. The 12-month target price is $9 (U.S.) per share.
Landmark Infrastructure Partners LP was raised to "strong buy" from "outperform" at Raymond James. The 12-month target price is $22 (U.S.) per share.
Mindray Medical International Ltd. was downgraded to "underperform" from "neutral" at Credit Suisse. The target price is $24 (U.S.) per share.
Prosperity Bancshares Inc. was downgraded to "market perform" from "outperform" at BMO Capital Markets. The target price is $53 (U.S.) per share.
Premier Inc. was rated new "outperform" at Robert Baird. The 12-month target price is $42 (U.S.) per share.
Seagate Technology PLC was downgraded to "hold" from "buy" at Craig-Hallum. The 12-month target price is $56 (U.S.) per share.
Tiffany & Co. was raised to "overweight" from "neutral" at Atlantic Equities. The 12-month target price is $103 (U.S.) per share.
Western Digital Corp. was downgraded to "hold" from "buy" at Craig-Hallum. The 12-month target price is $93 (U.S.) per share.