U.S. stocks closed mixed Tuesday after opening lower as investors wrestled with the fallout from deadly attacks in Belgium. Among the equities in focus are iPhone maker Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and pharmaceutical firm Valeant Pharmaceuticals Intl Inc (NYSE:VRX). Here’s a quick roundup of today’s brokerage notes on AAPL and VRX.
Yesterday, Apple released updates to its iPhone portfolio, a new iPad Pro, additional Apple Watch bands and software updates for iOS and tvOS. In reaction, Morgan Stanley analyst Kathryn Huberty reiterated an Overweight rating on the stock, with a price target of $135, which implies an upside of 26.5% from current levels.
Huberty observed, “iPhone, Watch and iPad updates were as expected. The $50 price decrease for iPhone SE (vs. 5s) was a positive surprise as we believe Apple can attract new iPhone users in emerging markets while keeping gross margins stable.” The analyst continued, “iPhone SE ships on March 31, after the end of the March quarter. Assuming Apple incorporated this timing in their March quarter guidance, then guidance implies underlying iPhone demand may be better than many investors think. This corroborates our AlphaWise Tracker, which indicated 56.5M unit demand in the March quarter using data through the month of February. We believe a combination of positive earnings revision and slight multiple re-rating from better iPhone demand will drive shares higher.”
According to TipRanks.com, which measures analysts’ and bloggers’ success rate based on how their calls perform, analyst Kathryn Huberty is a top 100 analyst with an average return of 16.5% and a 62% success rate. Huberty has a 20.5% average return when recommending AAPL.
Out of the 52 analysts polled by TipRanks, 39 rate Apple stock a Buy, 10 rate the stock a Hold and 3 recommend a Sell. With a return potential of 29%, the stock’s consensus target price stands at $137.50.
Valeant Pharmaceuticals Intl Inc
In a research report sent to investors today, Rodman & Renshaw analyst Ram Selvaraju reiterated a Buy rating on shares of Valeant, with a price target of $118, after the company announced that its CEO, Mike Pearson, would be stepping down and that he would continue to stay at the helm until his successor is identified.
Selvaraju commented, “While we consider Mike Pearson to have been the face of the old Valeant, we believe that the events of the past several months have effectively made his leadership untenable and that the investment community as a whole expects change. Valeant is in the midst of having to make some difficult strategic choices, and we acknowledge that a new direction for the firm probably would benefit from new blood in the C-suite.”
The analyst continued, “We note that the fallout from the Philidor debacle could make it difficult for the company to obtain an unqualified opinion from its auditors at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). The fact that Valeant admitted yesterday to having had “material weaknesses” in its internal controls makes it all the more unlikely that it would receive an unqualified opinion from PwC.”
According to TipRanks.com, analyst Ram Selvaraju has a total average return of -0.2% and a 40% success rate. Selvaraju has a 12% average return when recommending VRX, and is ranked #2473 out of 3800 analysts.
Out of the 21 analysts polled by TipRanks (in the past 3 months), 7 are bullish on Valeant Pharmaceuticals stock a Buy, 10 are neutral, and 4 remain bearish. With a return potential of 75%, the stock’s consensus target price stands at $55.73.