Friday, August 1, 2014 - 12:26pm

In a note released Friday morning, Aegis Capital analyst Raghuram Selvaraju downgraded shares of Galectin Therapeutics (NASDAQ: GALT) from Buy to Hold.

The downgrade comes amid result concerns as to whether or not the company will be able to demonstrate clinical effectiveness of its lead drug candidate GR-MD-02. The concerns arose when the second cohort of its Phase 1b trial did not show the same indications of potential anti-fibrotic efficacy as the previous cohort.

Amid the Aegis downgrade, shares of have dropped more than seven percent.


Friday, August 1, 2014 - 12:23pm

SunPower (NASDAQ: SPWR) saw its shares upgraded to Buy on Friday by Brean Capital's Michael Gaugler, who established a $41 price target.

Despite the action, SunPower traded recently at $33.66, down 8.3 percent.

The solar panel maker posted adjusted earnings Thursday of $0.28 per share on revenue of $62 million, exceeding Street views.

Beyond the headline numbers, "the company offered strong end market demand outlooks," Gaugler said in a note Friday.

But vagueness from SunPower managers regarding its 2015 outlook "may keep the shares somewhat range-bound until a clearer picture emerges," said Gaugler, who previously maintained a Hold on the shares.

SunPower promised to address guidance at an analysts' conference slated for November 13 and the event "looks to be a catalyst for investor sentiment, Gaugler said.


Friday, August 1, 2014 - 12:20pm

Expedia (NASDAQ: EXPE) moved five percent higher on Friday due to a stellar earnings reported, followed by a sequenced of upgrades in research notes from various analysts.

Benchmark - reiterates Buy, raises price target from $85 to $94:

“Expedia recorded strong 2Q14 results, marked by accelerating hotel room-night growth and a significant step-up in acquired hotel supply, including a meaningful acceleration of the ETP program rollout. Gross bookings exceeded consensus by $135 million driving $50 million of revenue outperformance, the majority of which flowed through to EBITDA, leading to $0.27 of EPS upside. As a result, management did EBITDA raise guidance for the year from 13-16% growth to 16-19% growth, representing $1.03 billion at the mid-point but only $15 million ahead of prior consensus given planned reinvestment and some increasingly challenging comparisons in the back half of the year.”

Raymond James - raises from Market Perform to Outperform, raises price target to $100:

“Expedia continues to experience solid room night growth (~23% normalized in 2Q); 2) we believe operating margins should begin to expand given Expedia is past its investment cyle and should see leverage across COGS, technology, and G&A; Our $100 target price is based on 21x our 2015 non-GAAP EPS estimate of $4.77, above its 1-year average of 17x. We believe a premium vs. its average is warranted given Expedia's continuing solid revenue growth and improved operating leverage, and likely continued upside to estimates. This 21x multiple also equates to a PEG of 1.2x, in line with the online travel group.”

Cantor Fitzgerald, reiterates Buy, raises price target from $82 to $92.

“Strength across all major Expedia brands as well as better-than-expected performance of the Travelocity partnership contributed to solid 2Q results that were comfortably above Street expectations. We remain constructive on EXPE, given a) our view that healthy organic growth in room nights is sustainable (driven by ETP, product improvements, etc.), b) strong momentum in Trivago, c) potential for further upside from Travelocity partnership, and d) the stock's attractive valuation at ~9x CY:14E EBITDA.”

UBS - reiterates Buy, raises price target from $85 to $95:

“We were less positive on: a) implied 2H EBITDA guide (which might be conservative) that suggests continued strong investments in marketing, hotel count growth & salesforce hiring; b) continued weak management commentary about Hotwire business; & c) expectation of trivago revs slowdown in 2H against tough comp.”

Expedia traded recently at $83.73, up 5.4 percent.


Friday, August 1, 2014 - 12:16pm

Following the market opening Friday, the Dow traded down 0.14 percent to 16,540.45 while the NASDAQ declined 0.11 percent to 4,364.96. The S&P also fell, dropping 0.01 percent to 1,930.55.

Leading and Lagging Sectors

Non-cyclical consumer goods & services shares rose by 0.58 percent on Friday. Top gainers in the sector included Strayer Education (NASDAQ: STRA), up 6.6 percent, and The Procter & Gamble Company (NYSE: PG), up 3.6 percent.

In trading on Friday, energy shares tumbled by 0.07 percent. Top losers in the sector included CIRCOR International (NYSE: CIR), Bill Barrett (NYSE: BBG), and SunPower (NASDAQ: SPWR).

Top Headline

Procter & Gamble (NYSE: PG) reported better-than-expected fiscal fourth-quarter profit.

The Cincinnati, Ohio-based company posted a quarterly profit of $2.58 billion, or $0.89 per share, versus a year-ago profit of $1.88 billion, or $0.64 per share. Its adjusted earnings rose 20% to $0.95 per share.

Its sales declined 1% to $20.2 billion, while organic sales rose 2% in the quarter. However, analysts were expecting earnings of $0.91 per share on revenue of $20.48 billion.

Equities Trading UP

Bally Technologies (NYSE: BYI) shares shot up 29.77 percent to $78.08 after the company agreed to be acquired by Scientific Games (NASDAQ: SGMS) for $83.30 per share in cash.

Shares of LinkedIn (NYSE: LNKD) got a boost, shooting up 9.89 percent to $198.51 after the company reported upbeat second-quarter results and issued a strong outlook for the current quarter.

Expedia (NASDAQ: EXPE) shares were also up, gaining 5.16 percent to $83.52 after the company reported upbeat results for the second quarter. Analysts at Raymond James upgraded Expedia from Market Perform to Outperform.

Equities Trading DOWN

Shares of Web.com Group (NASDAQ: WWWW) were down 24.30 percent to $20.10 after the company reported Q2 earnings of $0.62 per share on revenue of $138.20 million and issued a weak FY14 forecast. The company also announced the acquisition of Scoot. SunTrust Robinson Humphrey downgraded Web.com Group from Buy to Neutral and lowered the price target from $34.00 to $24.00.

GoPro (NASDAQ: GPRO) shares tumbled 8.48 percent to $43.90 despite better-than-expected Q2 results. Dougherty & Company downgraded GoPro from Buy to Neutral, according to Bloomberg.

SunPower (NASDAQ: SPWR) was down, falling 4.63 percent to $35.03 after the company issued a cautious outlook. However, the company reported better-than-expected Q2 earnings.

Commodities

In commodity news, oil traded down 0.42 percent to $97.76, while gold traded up 0.97 percent to $1,295.20.

Silver traded up 0.65 percent Friday to $20.55, while copper rose 0.20 percent to $3.24.

Eurozone

European shares were lower today. The eurozone’s STOXX 600 fell 1.06 percent, the Spanish Ibex Index tumbled 1.59 percent, while Italy’s FTSE MIB Index declined 0.14 percent. Meanwhile, the German DAX declined 1.73 percent and the French CAC 40 dropped 0.78 percent while UK shares fell 1 percent.

Economics

In July, the US economy added 209,000 nonfarm jobs, while the unemployment rate rose to 6.2% versus 6.1%. However, economists were estimating an addition of 235,000 nonfarm jobs in the month.

US consumer spending increased 0.4% in June, while personal income surged 0.4%. However, economists were expecting a 0.5% rise in spending and a 0.4% increase in personal income.

The final reading of Markit PMI manufacturing index declined to 55.8 in July, versus the flash estimate of 56.3. However, economists were expecting a reading of 56.5.

The final reading of Reuter's/University of Michigan's consumer sentiment index rose to 81.80 in July, versus a prior reading of 81.30. However, economists were expecting a reading of 81.80.

The ISM manufacturing composite index increased to 57.1 in July, from 55.3 in June. Economists projected a reading of 56.0 in July.

US construction spending declined 1.80% in June, versus economists’ expectations for a 0.50% gain.


Friday, August 1, 2014 - 12:11pm

In a report released Friday, UBS analyst Nick Yulico downgraded Education Realty Trust (NYSE: EDR) from Buy to Neutral, while increasing its price target from $11 to $11.50.

Analysts at UBS view little chance of upside for Education Realty Trust following its hefty returns of 22 percent year to date. UBS estimates growth reduction in adjusted funds from operation, from 13 percent on average in 2014 and 2015 to a projected four percent in 2016, caused by a reduction in Education Realty's development pipeline and increased use of equity and fixed-rate debt.


Friday, August 1, 2014 - 12:08pm

Following a downgrade from Buy to Neutral by Bank of America analyst Nat Schindler, shares of eHealth (NASDAQ: EHTH) are trading more than seven percent lower in Friday's session.

Schindler noted that the company saw disappointing numbers from both individual family plans (IFP) applications and members during the second quarter. He added, "We understand the drastic drop in apps as only people with significant life events can apply for IFP plans outside of the open enrollment period, but the change in conversion to paying members was a surprise -- even for the company."

Along with the downgrade, Schindler has cut eHealth's price objective from $47 to $24. Although he believes there is potential upside in the stock, Schindler says it is difficult to predict with the constant flux of ACA regulations and impacts.

Shares traded recently at $19.02, down 8.12 percent.


Friday, August 1, 2014 - 12:06pm

General Motors (NYSE: GM) sales grew slightly slower than Wall Street forecasts to nine percent in July, including a four percent gain in sales to retail customers, according to figures releases Friday.

Analysts had forecast GM's July sales growth of 9.2 percent.

Commercial deliveries were up 69 percent and all other fleet deliveries were up 21 percent.

“GM and the U.S. economy left July carrying good momentum,” Kurt McNeil, vice president of U.S. sales said. “The economy has bounced back and the stage is set for strong sales through the balance of the year."

Total Chevrolet deliveries were up eight percent, led by trucks and crossovers, with a four percent increase in retail car sales.

Chevrolet Corvette deliveries more than tripled for its best July since 2004, and the Camaro was up 25 percent, for its best July since 1995.

The Volt was up 13 percent, the Malibu was up nine percent and Sonic was up six percent. Silverado sales were flat with a year ago.

Buick had its best July since 2006, with sales up eight percent.

Every GMC nameplate posted a sales increase, including the new Sierra, driving sales 22 percent higher. GMC had its best July since 2006.

Average transaction prices were flat compared with June 2014, and up more than $2,000 per unit versus a year ago.

GM traded recently at $33.43, down 1.15 percent.


Friday, August 1, 2014 - 12:02pm

In a report released Friday, Summit analyst Srini Nandury maintained a Hold rating on Tableau Software (NYSE: DATA), while increasing its price target from $60 to $62.

Analysts at Summit favor Tableau Software recent second quarter earnings, beating consensus expectations in revenue and raising guidance for Q3 2014. Summit maintained a Hold rating due to its valuation and raised its EPS and revenue guidance for full year 2014 from $353 million and-$0.04 to $372 million and -$0.07.

Tableau Software's $62 price target is given by EV/C2015 sales of nearly 7.3x.


Friday, August 1, 2014 - 11:59am

Stifel upgraded DeVry Education (NYSE: DV) from Hold to Buy and raised the price target to $48.

Stifel offered its upgrade because DeVry's earnings are “troughing,” the company is well-positioned in its respective space and because the stock trades at a reasonable valuation.

Stifel on troughing earnings:

“Earnings are “troughing” and could turn positive in 2015 after uninterrupted decline from peak of $4.67 in 2011. Our 2014 estimate is $2.50 and our 2015 estimate is $2.55.”

Stifel mentioned the reasonable value the company trades at when compared to its peer group:

“Stock is off from its recent high of $46 and at $40, the stock currently trades at 14.1x our FTM EPS estimate vs. the peer group of American Public Education, Apollo Education, Capella Education, Grand Canyon Education, Strayer Education of 17.1x.”

Stifel likes the business itself, and believes that certain areas of DeVry Education are extremely well positioned:

“Mix shift cushions and enables growth: The core DeVry University Business, Technology and Management (BTM) has been weak and have been the key source of recent earnings decline. Yet its growing Medical and International business are now large enough to offset the weakness in BTM and in effect will generate ALL the earnings in 2015 while the DeVry BTM business should break even.”

DeVry Education recently traded at $40.37, and may have 17.64 percent upside based on the analyst's recommendation.


Friday, August 1, 2014 - 11:56am

In a report released Friday, Miller Tabak analyst Stephen Anderson downgraded Bravo Brio Restaurant Group (NASDAQ: BBRG) from Buy to Hold and lowered its fair value estimate from $19 to $15.

Analysts at Miller Tabak are dissatisfied with Bravo Brio's June quarter, as its revenue and EPS came in heavily below expectations. Along with disappointing expectations, the multi-upscale restaurant chain reported low negative comps.

Anderson expects a further negative surprise in unit growth in the 2015-2016 period or until comps rejuvenate growth.

Shares traded recently at $13.67, down 8.2 percent.