Analysts Weigh In On Two Volatile Stocks: J C Penney Company Inc (JCP), Xtant Medical Holdings Inc (XTNT)

Retail firm J C Penney Company Inc (NYSE:JCP) and healthcare company Xtant Medical Holdings Inc (NYSEMKT:XTNT) are two of today’s key needle-movers out on Wall Street, with J C Penney feeling the wrath of frustrated investors following underwhelming first quarter results and Xtant on the rise thanks to encouraging financing news.

Xtant’s hike in shares follows a drop earlier this week caused by disappointing quarterly earnings, but regardless, Maxim remains staunchly on board, supportive of investing in XTNT shares. Conversely, Piper Jaffray is far less forgiving, expressing a great deal of mistrust as to whether the retailer’s leadership can change its rocky course. Let’s explore:

Be Worried for J C Penney

J C Penney shares are crashing 10% and Piper Jaffray analyst Erinn Murphy‘s brow is furrowed in concern for the retailer, whose first quarter print released before the bell today left investors with little to celebrate. Apprehensive on challenging comps and the fear that CEO Ellison’s strategic efforts ultimately will just not be enough at the end of the day, Murphy continues to survey J C Penney from the sidelines. As such, the analyst reiterates a Neutral rating on JCP while cutting price target from $7 to $5, which represents a 5% increase from where the shares last closed.

“Overall, the two-year stack significantly decelerated from 3.4% in Q4 to -3.9% and comparisons get significantly harder in Q2/Q3. That said, JCP does expect Q2 comps within their FY18 range. Management reiterated their FY18 guidance across the board primarily due to: 1) a 600 bps comp improvement since February; 2) Q/Q improvement in women’s apparel; and 3) confidence behind Sephora and appliance initiatives. CEO Ellison continues to focus the company on getting faster and giving customers more reasons to come into their stores. While we wholeheartedly agree with the strategic actions underway, we remain worried that structural factors have more influence at the end of the day,” contends Murphy.

Worthy of note, the retailer intends to cut back on its net debt/EBITDA and the team looks to reach $300 to $400 million in free cash flow for the year, including all closings coupled with operating expenses. Regarding transactions, the JCP team notes a “significant one” is in the works that could very well close by the last quarter of the year, not currently calculated in the outlook.

As usual, we recommend taking analyst notes with a grain of salt. According to TipRanks, Erinn Murphy is ranked #4,385 out of 4,560 analysts. Murphy has a 45% success rate and loses 6.3% in her annual returns. When recommending JCP, Murphy earns 0.0% in average profits on the stock.

TipRanks analytics indicate JCP as a Hold. Based on 10 analysts polled by TipRanks in the last 3 months, 2 rate a Buy on J C Penney stock while 8 maintain a Hold. The 12-month average price target stands at $7.29, marking a nearly 53% upside from where the stock is currently trading.

Xtant: Compelling Buying Opportunity

Xtant shares are soaring near 28% today, riding the momentum of a newly announced amendment to its senior credit facility with OrbiMed for up to $15 million in financing. However, when full year guidance for the year was struck from the table on Tuesday, the stock initially took a near 7% stumble. It’s been a hyperventilating week to be an Xtant investor- for better or for worse.

Regardless of the guidance piece of the earnings piece of the puzzle, Maxim analyst Anthony Vendetti is out singing praises for the company’s “attractive” valuation. As such, the analyst reiterates a Buy rating on shares of XTNT with $1.50 price target, which represents a 226% increase from where the stock is currently trading.

Vendetti asserts, “We believe XTNT is implementing initiatives to improve operating efficiency, and is working towards an agreement to restructure its debt.”

For the first quarter, Extant posted $22.1 million in revenue, marking a 5.3% year-over-year rise, but falling under both the analyst’s expectations of $22.8 million as well as consensus of $22.5 million. Gross margin of 7.3% however did outclass the analyst’s and consensus estimates of 68.5%. EBITDA did great on comps, hitting $0.58 million against this time last year’s ($0.25 million) and beating the analyst’s forecast of $0.45 million. However, EBITDA was outmatched by consensus of $0.99 million, a big miss. Meanwhile, GAAP EPS of ($0.2) fared better than this time last year’s performance of ($0.47), but was a hair under both the analyst’s and consensus projections of ($0.30). Xtant closed the month of March with $2.5 million in cash and equivalents.

The “bottom line for Vendetti” is a positive one overall: “We would continue to be buyers of XTNT as it implements strategic initiatives to improve operating efficiency and continues negotiations to restructure its outstanding debt. We expect changes to the sales force to slightly disrupt 2017 revenue, but it should lead to overall improvements in EPS and free cash flow. In 1Q17, XTNT improved its gross margin by 310bps y/y, and had its fourth consecutive quarter of positive EBITDA. Management believes that it can reach breakeven – defined as positive EBITDA less cash-based interest expense – on quarterly revenue of $24.2M-$24.5M. If management is able to restructure its significant debt burden, we believe XTNT would be well-positioned to make significant improvements in its generation of free cash flow.”

According to TipRanks, which measures analysts’ and bloggers’ success rate based on how their calls perform, four-star analyst Anthony Vendetti is ranked #437 out of 4,560 analysts. Vendetti has a 67% success rate and yields 14.1% in his yearly returns. However, when recommending XTNT, Vendetti forfeits 29.7% in average profits on the stock.

Additionally, Jason Wittes of Aegis Capital rates a Buy on XTNT stock with a $10 price target, which represents a nearly 2074% upside from current levels; Swayampakula Ramakanth of H.C. Wainwright rates a Buy on XTNT without listing a price target.

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