Analyst Update: Valeant Pharmaceuticals Intl Inc, J C Penney Company Inc, and ConAgra Foods Inc

Analysts are weighing in on Valeant Pharmaceuticals Intl Inc (VRX), J C Penney Company Inc (JCP), and ConAgra Foods Inc (CAG)

by Kirra Fedyszyn

Published on Oct 14, 2016 at 2:32 PM

Analysts are weighing in on drugmaker Valeant Pharmaceuticals Intl Inc (NYSE:VRX), retail stock J C Penney Company Inc (NYSE:JCP), and snack specialist ConAgra Foods Inc (NYSE:CAG). Here's a quick roundup of today's brokerage notes on VRX, JCP, and CAG.

  • VRX received a price-target cut to $29 from $30 at Deutsche Bank overnight, and this afternoon announced a decision to raise prices on some neurology, GI, and urology drugs by up to 9%. As a whole, however, the company noted that the total price change across the company's U.S. branded prescription portfolio amounts to an increase of less the 2%. Still, Valeant Pharmaceuticals Intl Inc stock is trading 2% lower at $22.31, which may have some options bulls sweating. Calls have been all the rage in VRX's options pits lately, particularly among near-term traders. The stock's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 0.80 sits lower than 82% of the past year's readings. On the charts, today's losses bring Valeant's year-to-date deficit to 78%.
  • JCP is up 0.3% at $8.76, even after J.P. Morgan Securities lowered its price target on the stock by $3 to $9, as the brokerage firm weighed in bearishly across the department store sector. This negative note is nothing new for J C Penney Company Inc, though. At the moment, 10 out of 17 analysts rate the equity a "hold" or a "strong sell." Expectations appear to be low among traders, as well, considering more than 26% of JCP's total float is wrapped up in short interest, representing more than six sessions' worth of trading, at the stock's average daily pace. And all this pessimism is understandable, as the shares are in the red on a year-over-year basis, sitting miles below their February 2007 record high north of $87. 

  • CAG saw its rating lifted to "outperform" from "sector perform" at RBC, which also raised its price target on the stock to $54 from $50 -- boosting the shares 1.6% to $47.65. The brokerage firm also said ConAgra Foods Inc could acquire sector peer Pinnacle Foods Inc (NYSE:PF), potentially adding 16% to its per-share earnings. Also, pending a planned spinoff of its Lamb Weston brand next month, an analyst at the firm said, "Conagra would have considerable flexibility to significantly transform its portfolio." CAG has had a strong year on the charts, up 13%, and currently sits a within striking distance of its July 1 record high of $48.81. Plus, it looks like the shares have found a foothold above the $47 level. Regardless, nearly half of the brokeragaes tracking CAG still rate it a tepid "hold," leaving the door wide open for more upgrades. 
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