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Upgrades & Downgrades: SFLY, MSG, URI, GGP, and GRPN

Analysts adjusted their ratings on SFLY, MSG, URI, GGP, and GRPN

by 12/19/2011 9:44 AM
Stocks quoted in this article:

Analysts are weighing in today on real estate investment trust General Growth Properties, Inc. (GGP - 14.41), equipment rental company United Rentals, Inc. (URI - 28.25), New York-based sports and entertainment issue Madison Square Garden, Inc. (MSG - 29.57), photo publisher Shutterfly, Inc. (SFLY - 23.25), and mass coupon concern Groupon Inc. (GRPN - 23.14). Here's a quick roundup of today's upgrades and downgrades of note.

  • First up, Credit Suisse downgraded GGP to "neutral" from "outperform." However, despite outperforming the broader S&P 500 Index (SPX) by 12.2% during the past three months, GGP is no stranger to lukewarm analyst attention. According to Zacks, the stock boasts just one "buy" or better endorsement, compared to eight tepid "hold" recommendations. Plus, short interest represents more than four sessions' worth of pent-up buying demand, at GGP's average daily trading volume. Right out of the gate, GGP has shed 0.8% to linger in the $14.41 vicinity.
  • Moving on, URI earned some analyst affection this morning, as the brokerage bunch applauds the firm's proposed $1.87-billion acquisition of RSC Holdings (RRR). Specifically, RBC Capital named URI the "de facto investment choice in the rental sector," and implemented a $42 price target on the stock. Elsewhere, Oppenheimer upgraded the security to "top pick" from "outperform" and lifted its price target to $37 from $29, while KeyBanc upped its price target to $34 from $28. In early action, URI has added 1.3% to explore the $28.25 neighborhood.
  • As for MSG, Needham launched coverage on the equity with a "buy" rating, and encouraged investors to exploit any weakness tied to an ongoing contract dispute with Time Warner Cable (TWC) to buy shares. Furthermore, the brokerage firm said it's bullish on the NBA's new collective bargaining agreement and Christmas debut, and noted that the combined value of the Knicks and the NHL's Rangers is more than half of MSG's total enterprise value. At last check, MSG has advanced 1.6% to wink at the $29.57 level.
  • Elsewhere, Janney cut its price target and earnings forecasts for SFLY, citing "continuing competitive pricing pressure deeper into the Holiday than expected." Specifically, the analysts cut their fair-value estimate to $39 from $57, but said they still applaud the company's "low cost" and "quality [and] market-share leadership." Separately, Baird slashed its price target on the equity to $50 from $66. In early trading, SFLY continued its string of new lows, bottoming at $23 before bouncing back.
  • Finally, Stifel Nicolaus initiated coverage on GRPN with a "hold" rating. However, middle-of-the-road analyst attention is par for the course for the Wall Street rookie, which just last week emerged from its post-IPO quiet period. According to Zacks, not one of the brokerage firms following the equity deems it worthy of a "buy" or better rating. Plus, Thomson Reuters pegs the average 12-month price target at $25.73, representing a slim premium of just 11.6% to Friday's closing price of $23.04. Right out of the gate, though, GRPN has followed the broader equities market higher, tacking on 0.4%.

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