Analysts Bullish on Two Financial Giants: Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (BRK.A), Visa Inc (V)

Nomura analysts weigh in on Buffet’s financial giant Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE:BRK.A) and credit card giant Visa Inc (NYSE:V). Analysts remain bullish on both companies following an earnings report and meetings with management, respectively.

Berkshire Hathaway Inc.

Analyst Cliff Gallant of Nomura weighed in on Berkshire Hathaway after the company reported fourth quarter earnings on February 27. The financial giant posted operating earnings of $4.67 billion, below the analyst’s estimate of $4.76 billion. The analyst attributes the revenue miss to falling oil prices and disappointing revenue from subsidiary holdings.

The analyst points to BNSF, the freight company fully owned by Buffet’s enterprise, as one reason for the revenue miss as the company’s revenue from industrial products fell 11%. The analyst continues to explain that Buffet is “not one for ‘guidance,” but he hinted that BNSF will continue to miss expectations in 2016, presumably since coal-driven demand is falling.

Gallant highlights that book value increased 6% in 2015 despite a “tough year for the company.” He also highlights that the company’s holdings in IBM, AXP, WFC, and KO fell are already down a combined 7.7% year-to-date. The analyst is cutting his EPS estimates, explaining, “We are reducing our EPS estimates from $12,481 to $11,795 for 2016 and from $13,111 to $12,482 for 2017 driven by ongoing revenue declines at BNSF and manufacturing partially offset by expectations that GEICO’s loss ratio will rebound in latter 2016 and BHE should remain solid.”

He explains, “2015 revealed an exposure to oil that we had underappreciated, but we were also impressed by the overall stability of Berkshire as book value muscled upward. Berkshire’s collection of top-tier franchises is adjusting to headwinds, and will continue to produce strong earnings and cash flows.” In light of Berkshire Hathaway’s earnings report, Gallant reiterates a Buy rating on the company though lowers his price target from $239,000 to $235,000.

Gallant has a 48% success rate recommending stocks with a 2.6% average return per rating.

Visa Inc

In addition, Nomura analyst Bill Carcache weighed in on Visa following a meeting with its executives. Carcache maintains a Buy rating on Visa and increased his target price to $91 from $85. The analyst is feeling “incrementally more bullish” on Visa’s prospects for earnings growth due to his increased confidence in potential growth from the Visa Europe transaction.

Even though the macro challenges persist, management is aware of the difficulties and is closely monitoring cross-border volume growth and domestic activity in all regions. Carcache is not discouraged by these difficulties because his meetings with management “reinforced [his] conviction in V’s ability to offset topline weakness with expense control, even in a more challenging macro environment.” While some challenges persist for Visa, the financial services corporation is seeking “opportunities to drive efficiency improvements, without compromising long-term growth.”

CEO Charlie Scharf explained that he would like to partner with Paypal to form a sustainable business model. The analyst explains, “While [Sharf’s] preference would be to partner with PYPL and make cash their common enemy, he stands ready to compete more aggressively should PYPL choose not to partner.”

In light of the meeting, the analyst believes his 2017 EPS estimate of $3.38 is not reflected in the market value. He explains, “the market is underestimating the upside associated with VE’s potential for efficiency improvements and revenue benefits.”

Bill Carcache has a 72% success rate and 11.8% average return per recommendation on TipRanks. According to TipRanks, 7 analysts are bullish on Visa while 1 remains on the sidelines. The average 12-month price target between these 8 analysts is $88.57, marking a 22% potential upside from where shares last closed.



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