Analyst Update: Continental Res, Virgin America, Walgreen

Analysts adjusted their ratings on CLR, VA, and WAG

Dec 24, 2014 at 9:19 AM
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Analysts are weighing in today on oil-and-gas issue Continental Resources, Inc. (NYSE:CLR), airline Virgin America Inc (NASDAQ:VA), and pharmacy chain Walgreen Company (NYSE:WAG). Here's a quick look at today's brokerage notes on CLR, VA, and WAG.

  • After recently announcing it will cut spending by roughly 41% and reduce its rig fleet amid plunging oil prices, CLRreceived a price-target cut to $42 from $44 at Barclays -- though the firm reiterated its "overweight" rating. It's been a miserable 2014 for the shares, which have dropped 28.4% to rest at $40.26. However, more than half of the analysts covering Continental Resources, Inc. have doled out a "buy" or better recommendation, and its consensus 12-month price target of $53.04 stands at a nearly 32% premium to current trading levels. In other words, if CLR maintains its longer-term trajectory, additional bearish brokerage notes could come down the pike, exacerbating selling pressure.

  • Wall Street newcomer VA has advanced 32.6% since going public in mid-November, landing at $35.81 last night. A trio of analysts reacted to this price action this morning, initiating coverage on the shares. Specifically, both Barclays and Cowen issued the equivalent of "buy" ratings, as well as matching $42 price targets, while Raymond James handed out a "market perform" assessment. In the options pits, traders have been extremely bullish toward Virgin America Inc. During the last two weeks at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), speculators have bought to open 1,254 VA calls compared to just five puts.

  • The brokerage bunch is responding positively to yesterday's earnings beat from WAG. Specifically, Barclays upped its price target on the shares by $4 to $72, while reiterating an "equal weight" opinion. From a technical perspective, this bullish note is warranted, given Walgreen Company's 33.2% year-to-date advance to trade at $76.51 -- and yesterday, the shares hit a record peak of $77.22. Not surprisingly, 55% of covering analysts have rated the stock a "buy" or better, with not a single "sell" to be found. However, WAG's consensus 12-month price target of $73.18 sits below the current price, suggesting additional price-target hikes could be on the horizon.

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