Schaeffer's Trading Floor Blog

Upgrades & Downgrades: HPQ, CIEN, LGF, SU, and UAL

Analysts adjusted their ratings on HPQ, CIEN, LGF, SU, and UAL

by 3/22/2012 11:37 AM
Stocks quoted in this article:

Analysts are weighing in today on tech giant Hewlett-Packard (HPQ - 23.05), telecommunications networker Ciena Corporation (CIEN - 15.77), motion picture house Lions Gate Entertainment Corporation (LGF - 14.82), natural gas and oil producer Suncor Energy, Inc. (SU - 32.53), and airline parent company United Continental Holdings (UAL - 20.11). Here's a quick roundup of today's upgrades and downgrades of note.

  • Beginning with Dow heavyweight HPQ, the stock is sitting on a nearly 1.8% decline after receiving downbeat coverage from Barclays this morning. The firm maintained its "equal weight" rating, and lowered its price target by $2 to $25. There could be additional target reductions in store for HPQ, as the consensus 12-month price target rests at $30.29 -- which represents a 30% premium to yesterday's close of $23.46. From a technical perspective, HPQ is cowering below $24 at last check. This level has emerged as resistance over the past two weeks, and could continue this role going forward.
  • Next, CIEN is hovering around breakeven this morning, attempting to capitalize on a new "buy" rating and price target of $20 from Nomura. This target is well above the consensus view, as Thomson Reuters places the average 12-month price target at $17.48 -- representing a modest premium to CIEN's intraday high of $16.05. Should the shares extend their 30% year-to-date rise, there could be a fresh round of target hikes in store for CIEN.
  • Evercore Partners today dropped its rating for LGF to "equal weight" from "overweight." Since the beginning of the year, the shares have been on a tear, jumping roughly 88.5%, and tagging an all-time high of $16.19 on Wednesday. In fact, LGF has outpaced the broader S&P 500 Index (SPX) by 66% during the last 60 sessions. As a result of this upswing, LGF's Relative Strength Index (RSI) now rests at 77 -- in overbought territory -- suggesting that a short-term consolidation may be overdue. At last check, the stock is off roughly 6%.
  • SU has turned lower by 2.5% so far today, unable to benefit from National Bank Financial's new "outperform" rating. This upbeat note is nothing new for the stock, according to Zacks. While the stock boasts eight "strong buys" and two "buy" endorsements, there are zero "hold" or "sell" suggestions. On the charts, SU has dipped back below its downtrending 200-day moving average, and is currently staring up at the $33 level, which has acted as a technical backstop since mid-January.
  • Finally, UAL is trading in the red, even after Raymond James started coverage on the stock with an "outperform" rating and $26 price target. It appears that most analysts are optimistically skewed when it comes to UAL, as Zacks is reporting that 91% of the brokerage bunch has doled out a "strong buy" rating. Plus, Thomson Reuters places the average 12-month price target at $32.33, which represents a 60% premium to today's session low of $20.16. This alignment leaves plenty of room for potential downgrades and/or price-target cuts, should UAL extend its 11.1% year-long deficit. Currently, the stock is down about 2%, continuing its recent stagnation beneath the $21 level, which has capped UAL's progress for the last four weeks.


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