Wall Street analysts weighed in today on beauty products retailer Ulta Salon Cosmetics & Fragrance Inc.(NASDAQ:ULTA) and biotech firm Athersys, Inc. (NASDAQ:ATHX), as both stocks are among the top performers today. The analysts reflect on Ulta Salon’s strong earnings results and Athersys’ MultiStem clinical progress.
Ulta Salon Cosmetics & Fragrance Inc.
Ulta Salon shares climbed nearly 16% as of this writing, after the company topped fourth-quarter expectations and offered upbeat guidance. The company reported earnings of $1.69 per share on revenue of $1.27 billion for the quarter, compared to consensus estimates of $1.54 per share on $1.23 billion. In terms of guidance for the first quarter, the company expects to have EPS in the range of $1.25 to $1.30 and revenues in the range of $1.016 billion to $1.033 billion, compared to consensus estimates of $1.22 in EPS on $1.01 billion in revenue.
In reaction, Jefferies analyst Randal Konik raised his price target for the stock to $180 (from $165), while keeping the rating at Hold.
Konik commented, “While we see an impressive growth trajectory ahead for ULTA, we see significant near-term margin upside as unlikely, as the company invests in key areas to support its growth, such as assortment planning and inventory management systems, the accelerated roll-out of prestige in-store boutiques, marketing, and store labor.”
“We continue to like the strength of the business model, ULTA’s unique market positioning and future growth prospects. However, we believe valuation already prices in these positives. We remain Hold rated due to what we view as a full valuation but look for a more attractive entry point,” the analyst concluded.
According to TipRanks.com, which measures analysts’ and bloggers’ success rate based on how their calls perform, analyst Randal Konik has a total average return of -1.4% and a 43% success rate. Konik has a 21.5% average return when recommending ULTA, and is ranked #2833 out of 3700 analysts.
Out of the 15 analysts polled by TipRanks, 11 rate Ulta Salon Cosmetics & Fragrance stock a Buy, while 4 rate the stock a Hold. With a return potential of 0.2%, the stock’s consensus target price stands at $188.14.
Maxim analyst Jason Kolbert reiterated a Buy rating on shares of Athersys, while raising the price target to $10.00 (from $5.00), after the company reported its fourth-quarter results and outlined its ambitious clinical development strategy for its pipeline in its conference call yesterday.
Kolbert wrote, “Given the building data that suggests MultiStem works (and that stem cell therapy works in multiple modalities), we are lowering our risk rating (to 20%, from 30%). This drives a price target increase to $10.00, from $5.00. While the challenge in reaching our price target remains the catalyst (a 2017 event), we believe that smart investors who take the time to evaluate the data will see that a positive outcome for MultiStem in stroke is probable. A positive outcome for Athersys would be transformative for both patients and the company.”
The analyst concluded, “Athersys continues to demonstrate that MultiStem has a meaningful clinical benefit in patients who have suffered an ischemic stroke and may extend the therapeutic window to 36 hours, as well as ameliorate some of the natural AEs (hyper inflammatory cascade), which tend to leave patients in an immune-depressed state (such as secondary infections and or pulmonary complications associated with stroke).”
According to TipRanks.com, analyst Jason Kolbert has a total average return of -16.3% and a 28.5% success rate. Kolbert has a 11.2% average return when recommending ATHX, and is ranked #3697 out of 3700 analysts.