Morgan Stanley Changes Ratings on Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (AMD) and Valeant Pharmaceuticals Intl Inc (VRX)

Morgan Stanley analysts expressed their opinions today on chip maker Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMD) and troubled pharmaceutical firm Valeant Pharmaceuticals Intl Inc (NYSE:VRX). Both analysts explain how recent events and their resulting outcomes will drive each stock forward, changing ratings in different directions.

Advanced Micro Devices, Inc.

AMD stock has been on a tear this year, driven by growing optimism that the company is finally on the verge of turning things around. As such, Morgan Stanley analyst Joseph Moore is upgrading his rating for the stock from Underweight to Equalweight, with a price target of $11, which represents a slight upside potential from current levels.

Moore commented, “We have seen some potential for the Zen opportunity for AMD for a while but have been surprised to see the stock rally to these levels with consensus EPS of $0.04 and $0.26 for the next two years. AMD has achieved significant product cycles in the past, but hasn’t maintained them, and we think the opportunity is short lived with Intel’s 10 nm products shipping a few months later.”

“So the problem is that we are well above consensus on 2017 EPS ($0.31 vs $0.04), and we expect positive milestones for Zen, and see meaningful upside for earnings vs. consensus. We simply don’t see the reversal that will contradict the consensus view,” the analyst added.

According to, which measures analysts’ and bloggers’ success rate based on how their calls perform, analyst Joseph Moore has a yearly average return of 4.9% and a 56% success rate. Moore has a -73.1% average return when recommending AMD, and is ranked #838 out of 4274 analysts.

Out of the 17 analysts polled by TipRanks, 7 rate Advanced Micro Devices stock a Buy, 8 rate the stock a Hold and 2 recommend a Sell. With a downside potential of 25%, the stock’s consensus target price stands at $8.08.

Valeant Pharmaceuticals Intl Inc

Investors weren’t impressed with Valeant’s recent execution and at least one Wall Street analyst has had enough. Morgan Stanley analyst David Risinger downgraded VRX today, from Overweight to Equalweight, while reducing the price target to $17 (from $25), which still implies an upside of 26% from current levels.

Risinger wrote, “Since our upgrade in August, our investment thesis that management would stabilize the business and execute accelerated deleveraging via divestitures has been wrong. When we upgraded VRX shares from EW to OW on August 17, 2016, we expected business stabilization and material divestitures. Neither has happened to date. Additionally, Valeant announced the departure of certain executives on Dec. 12 (see Executive departures an area of concern), and we no longer believe that shares can outperform. Although we have been disappointed in the progress, divestitures could still occur at any time, and management could enhance business performance.”

“We assume a 15% EV/EBITDA discount due to Valeant risk factors, including declining business trends and significant leverage. Shares could continue to be volatile; positive/negative newsflow could drive material stock upside/downside,” the analyst concluded.

As usual, we recommend taking analyst notes with a grain of salt. According to, analyst David Risinger has a yearly average return of -10.3% and a 33% success rate. Risinger has a -18.7% average return when recommending VRX, and is ranked #4083 out of 4274 analysts.

The overwhelmingly majority of analysts still say Valeant is a “Hold.” The average forecast is for the stock to hit $21.67 in the coming months, according to data compiled by TipRanks.

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