Broker Roundup: Apple Inc. (AAPL), Valeant Pharmaceuticals Intl Inc (VRX), Tesla Motors Inc (TSLA)

U.S. stocks reversed course to turn firmly lower in late-Wednesday after minutes from the Federal Reserve’s last meeting suggested that policymakers may raise interest rates next month if the economycontinues to improve. Among the equities in focus today are iPhone maker Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), drug maker Valeant Pharmaceuticals Intl Inc (NYSE:VRX), and electric car giant Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA). Let’s take a closer look:

Apple Inc.

Bernstein analyst Toni Sacconaghi was out pounding the table on Apple Wednesday, reiterating an Outperform rating and price target of $135, which implies an upside of 43% from current levels.

Sacconaghi wrote, “While Apple’s stock has swooned recently following disappointing FY Q2 results, the company has always garnered a relatively low multiple. Why? Because Apple’s primary monetization vehicle is selling hardware – making it vulnerable to elongating replacement cycles and falling ASPs and margins… a la the PC. In fact, ex-cash Apple trades at ~8x earnings, in line with secularly challenged hardware companies.”

The analyst continued, “At that point, replacement cycles are likely to elongate as successive product generations become increasingly less differentiated, and ASPs (and margins) are likely to decline due to Moore’s Law and competitive pressures. The upshot is that the iPhone is likely to become a declining annuity over time, a la the PC market. Investors have seen this movie play out in the handset space over time, with Motorola, Blackberry, Nokia all facing collapsing fortunes.”

“On net, while we believe that Apple will be challenged to grow earnings longer term, we do believe that the iPhone business is still healthy today, and that accordion-like replacement cycles between full refresh and S-cycles explains the majority of the YoY contraction we are seeing this year. With the stock trading near trough valuation, we continue to see risk-reward as attractive at current levels,” Sacconaghi concluded.

According to, which measures analysts’ and bloggers’ success rate based on how their calls perform, analyst Toni Sacconaghi has a yearly average return of 17% and a 58% success rate. Sacconaghi has a 20% average return when recommending AAPL, and is ranked #93 out of 3910 analysts.

Out of the 51 analysts polled by TipRanks, 39 rate Apple stock a Buy, 10 rate the stock a Hold and 2 recommend a Sell. With a return potential of 37%, the stock’s consensus target price stands at $129.51.

Valeant Pharmaceuticals Intl Inc

In a research note issued today, Wells Fargo analyst David Maris stressed a need for a cautious stance on shares of Valeant Pharmaceuticals, after the company filed an 8-K detailing a series of multi-million dollar retention bonuses to keep several executives. The analyst lowered his valuation range to $27-$31 (from $30.00 to $31.00), while reiterating an Underperform rating on the stock.

Maris noted, “We are surprised by these bonuses as we believe this opens the company up to criticism of being brazen in the face of public and government scrutiny for pricing practices. It is not hard to see the criticism that the retention bonuses are being paid with money Valeant gained through excessive price increases and being paid to executives who in part helped oversee these pricing programs.”

“We are lowering our estimates following our review of recent prescription and spending trends. Valeant recently reaffirmed its 1Q16 EPS guidance, but notably absent was any mention of reaffirming the full year 2016 guidance. We note to investors that 2016 should see a significant jump in reported sales related to the Walgreens deal, as discounts and rebates that previously showed up as reductions from gross sales to net sales are eliminated and replaced with distribution fees booked into SG&A,” the analyst continued.

According to, analyst David Maris has a yearly average return of 4.4% and a 57% success rate. Maris has a 28.5% average return when recommending VRX, and is ranked #994 out of 3910 analysts.

Out of the 21 analysts polled by TipRanks, 7 are bullish on Valeant stock a Buy, 10 remain neutral, and 4 are bearish. With a return potential of 63%, the stock’s consensus target price stands at $47.43.

Tesla Motors Inc

Goldman Sachs analyst Patrick Archambault upgraded shares of Tesla from Neutral to Buy, with a 6-month price target of $250, which implies an upside of 18.5% from current levels.

Archambault explained, “While we believe the volume targets are ambitious, Street and investor expectations seem more grounded and following a 23% decline in the share price post the Model 3 unveil, we do not believe Tesla shares are fully capturing the company’s disruptive potential. This combined with a more stable macro backdrop (relative to January/February) and increased confidence in Model 3 demand (from orders and our competitive benchmarking) drives attractive risk/reward.”

The analyst continued, “Ultimately we think the biggest fundamental near-term catalyst will be the ramp of the Model X. While progress appears to have been limited since the 1Q16 update, expectations are low in our view with many on the Sell/Buy sides expecting a cut to Tesla’s 80-90k delivery target. While we acknowledge this risk we view it as discounted and think any positive news on X production would strongly support the shares.”

According to, analyst Patrick Archambault has a yearly average return of 15.8% and a 57% success rate. Archambault has a 67% average return when recommending TSLA, and is ranked #244 out of 3910 analysts.

The overwhelmingly majority of analysts say Tesla is a Buy. The average forecast is for the stock to hit $277 in the coming months.

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