All the market-moving Wall Street chatter from Friday


    (This is CNBC Pro’s live coverage of Friday’s analyst calls and Wall Street chatter. Please refresh every 20-30 minutes to view the latest posts.) Netflix and a popular beauty stock were featured among Friday’s biggest analyst calls. Canaccord Genuity downgraded Netflix after the streaming giant posted its first-quarter results. Ulta Beauty also got a downgrade from Jefferies. Check out the latest calls and chatter below. All times ET. 7:38 a.m.: Edward Jones downgrades Hershey, cites record-high cocoa prices Edward Jones is moving to the sidelines on Hershey despite its leading brand position. “Hershey is facing headwinds from record-high cocoa prices, which we expect to limit near-term earnings growth,” wrote analyst Brittany Quatrochi as she downgraded shares to a hold rating. To be sure, Quatrochi expects Hershey to partially offset elevated cocoa prices by hiking prices and downsizing sizes. New product innovations and international growth should also drive sales growth. “These long-term positives are balanced by our belief that it will take several years for Hershey to offset higher cocoa costs, which we expect to weigh on earnings growth in the near term,” she wrote. Hershey shares have dipped less than 1% this year. – Samantha Subin 7:03 a.m.: Loop Capital says buy this ‘category killer’ with more than 30% upside It’s time to take a look at this food delivery platform and “category killer,” according to Loop Capital. Analyst Rob Sanderson initiated coverage of DoorDash with a buy rating and $170 price target, citing strong execution. “We think that years of debate over viability and earnings potential of on-demand gig platforms has been settled,” he wrote. “Industry leaders like DoorDash have demonstrated continued momentum postpandemic and the ramp in free cash generation is undeniable.” DoorDash shares have rallied more than 31% so far this year, with the firm’s $170 price target suggesting that shares can rally another 31% from here. “While DoorDash carries a valuation premium vs. many peers, it is justified by a higher growth rate, best-in-class execution and earnings power that we think is meaningfully understated by investment in new categories, new regions and new products,” Sanderson said. – Samantha Subin 6:48 a.m.: Wolfe Research upgrades Bank of America as net interest income reaches an ‘inflection’ Now is the time to buy shares of Bank of America, according to Wolfe Research. Analyst Steven Chubak upgraded Bank of America to an outperform rating, citing expectations for a net interest income turnaround and a discounted valuation. “While some of these NII pressures should persist in a higher-for-longer rate backdrop, with BAC’s 1Q24 results reflecting better asset repricing trends … we believe that we’re now approaching the point of NII inflection where “under-earning” banks including both BAC and SCHW should post stronger gains following multiple years of underperformance,” he wrote. Shares of Bank of America have added 6% this year, with the firm’s $42 price targets suggesting that shares can rally another 17%. Along with improving net interest income, Chubak also noted that Bank of America appears to be gaining market share in trading and investment banking, which should bode well for fee growth. “Combined with a discounted valuation and the capacity to repurchase ~16% of market capitalization through YE25 (by our estimates), we are more confident in BAC’s ability to drive durable EPS growth over the next few years,” he wrote. – Samantha Subin 6:28 a.m.: Wells Fargo upgrades First Solar to overweight, says shares can surge more than 40% Investors should consider snatching up “port in the storm” stock First Solar, according to Wells Fargo. Analyst Michael Blum upgraded First Solar to an overweight rating and lifted his price target to $250 a share as the company sells out through 2026 and provides “[near-term] earnings stability.” “While it’s hard to predict which of the following regulations will pass, at a minimum, we see many ways in which FSLR could maintain [average selling prices] through the end of the decade (implies a $340/sh stock price) and a few scenarios in which [average sales prices] increase further from here (implies at least a $390/sh stock price),” he wrote. Blum cites a slew of catalysts for the upgrade, including the expectation that The Biden Administration will revoke tariff exemption of bifacial modules used in solar and potential trade restrictions on Chinese panels. New proposals would also bar solar companies based in China from obtaining Inflation Reduction Act credits. Blum’s adjusted $250 price target implies that shares can rally 43% from Thursday’s close. The stock added 1% before the bell and is up 1% this year. Alongside the upgrade, Blum downgraded Sunnova Energy to an equal weight rating and slashed his price target to $6 from $11, citing a higher-for-longer rate environment. The stock lost nearly 4% before the bell. “While some companies can afford to wait for rates to fall & the [residential] solar market to rebound, NOVA has upcoming debt maturities & tight liquidity,” he wrote. “YTD, NOVA’s pace of cash generation seems to be tracking below required levels to address debt maturities.” – Samantha Subin 6:06 a.m.: Morgan Stanley upgrades Shopify, says shares can rally more than 20% Morgan Stanley is turning more bullish on Shopify . “Share gains upmarket by Shopify support confidence in the durability of growth against tempered consumer spending expectations,” wrote analyst Keith Weiss. “A disciplined view on headcount provides room for further operating leverage against more measured expectations, supporting our upgrade to Overweight.” Shares of the Canada-based e-commerce company jumped about 3% before the bell on the upgrade. The stock has tumbled 11% this year, but could rally 22% based on the firm’s adjusted $85 price target. SHOP YTD mountain SHOP year to date Underpinning the firm’s overweight rating is a bet that Shopify will expand its international traction and hold onto 20% growth even as consumer expectations moderate. Weiss also estimates that advertising can add 100 basis points to the company’s take rate by 2030, while a “largely flat headcount” should benefit 2024 operating margins. The take rate refers to the fees collected on a sale. “Despite questions around the durability of Shopify’s operating margin expansion following Q4 results, we believe investor expectations have over corrected and commentary pointing to modest headcount expansion in FY24 still leaves room for further realization of operating leverage and FCF growth in the business,” Weiss wrote. — Samantha Subin 5:53 a.m.: Canaccord Genuity downgrades Netflix, cites slower growth ahead Beware of slower growth ahead for Netflix , according to Canaccord Genuity. Analyst Maria Ripps downgraded the media giant to hold from buy after its first-quarter print, saying the company’s paid sharing initiative “meaningfully pulled forward member growth.” “Despite these mostly solid results and outlook, we see limited growth catalysts for the next few quarters and with the stock up ~90% over the last 12 months and up ~25% YTD, we think investors may be well served to look elsewhere for upside and are downgrading the stock to hold,” she wrote. Shares slumped nearly 6% before the bell even after Netflix topped first-quarter results and reported a 16% rise in total memberships in extended trading Thursday. NFLX 1D mountain NFLX falls Along with the results, Netflix also said it plans to stop reporting quarterly membership numbers and average revenue per member, which Ripps views as further contributing to this “uncertainty.” “We think this decision and the timing of when the company plans to sunset the disclosure indicates that member growth may become challenged in FY25, as paid sharing likely pulled forward member additions, although that benefit could still continue for another few quarters,” she said. Despite the news, some Wall Street majors retained their overweight rating on the stock. Although net additions will likely subside in 2025, Wells Fargo analyst Steven Cahall expects average revenue per user to accelerate as Netflix’s advertising program rolls out across the U.S. and Canada. Price hikes later this year in other countries and the continued build-out of Netflix’s advertising tier should also help offset some pressures on average revenue per user, added JPMorgan’s Doug Anmuth. Elsewhere, Morgan Stanley’s Benjamin Swinburne viewed the results and outlook as a sign that the company can support 25% to 30% EPS growth. “The business model transition put into place two years ago, when growth stalled, appears well on track,” he wrote. “Healthy double digit top-line growth looks sustainable beyond 2024.” – Samantha Subin 5:53 a.m.: Jefferies downgrades Ulta Beauty The competition against Ulta Beauty is heating up, and Jefferies thinks it could hurt the stock. Analyst Ashley Helgans downgraded the stock to hold from buy. She also slashed her price target to $438 from $585. The new forecast is just 3% above Thursday’s close. Shares slipped more than 1% in the premarket. “We have viewed Ulta as a share taker in current macro, but see constraints on ULTA’s prestige biz (50% sales) due to lack of newness and increasing pressure from Sephora which raises the potential for downward revisions in the [next 12 months],” Helgans wrote. The analyst added that, after meeting with management, she wouldn’t “be surprised to see ULTA be more promotional to hold market share, weighing on [gross margins] and delaying SG & A investments to maintain the current [operating margins] guide.” Ulta shares have struggled in 2024, losing 13.2%. ULTA YTD mountain ULTA year to date — Fred Imbert


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