Wall Street Analysts Love These Stocks

Earnings season brings on a flurry of upgrades and downgrades, and it can be an all-day affair just to get through them all. Today we look at an outlet mall operator, a real estate servicer, a firearm manufacturer, and a beverage company. Should you heed Wall Street's call?

Company

Rating Change

Reaction as of 1 p.m. EDT

Tanger Factory Outlet (NYSE: SKT  ) Upgrade from "neutral" to "buy" Up more than 0.3%
General Growth Properties (NYSE: GGP  ) Upgrade from "neutral" to "buy" Up almost 1%
Smith & Wesson (NYSE: SWHC  ) Coverage initiated at "buy" Up almost 4%
Monster Beverage (Nasdaq: MNST  ) Reiterated "buy," with price target of $82 Up more than 12.5%

Source: The Wall Street Journal.

Tanger Factory Outlet
UBS upgraded Tanger Factory Outlet from "neutral" to "buy."

  • Why? UBS likes the company's development pipeline and recent acquisitions, both of which should raise full-year results.
  • Justified? Yes. Though the concept of a mall may go by the wayside in the near future, the outlet mall has a niche that doesn't seem to be disappearing, as deal hunters will always love to go through the racks. The stock looks richly valued today, but at 19 times forward earnings, it's much more attractive.

General Growth Properties
UBS upgraded General Growth from "neutral" to "buy."

  • Why? UBS cites the dispositions of non-core assets and greater confidence in the company's management team as drivers for earnings growth.
  • Justified? No. In general, I think General Growth is an industry outperformer. But I want to wait and see where it's headed with its development pipeline before I would pony up the cash. I also prefer long-term reasons for investing over "near-term catalysts."

Smith & Wesson
The Benchmark Co. initiated coverage on Smith & Wesson at "buy."

  • Why? Benchmark cited higher firearm sales, which it sees as a result of the apparently growing acceptance of the idea of gun ownership, according to recent polls.
  • Justified? Yes. Regardless of your opinion on gun control, the iconic gun maker is in position to take advantage of this market trend. It is an age-old company with a manufacturing process that is down to a "T."

Monster Beverage
UBS reiterated a "buy" rating, with a price target of $82.

  • Why? Quarterly results crushed analyst expectations.
  • Justified? No! I don't always use exclamation marks, but again, "No!" Monster has a good product line and is expanding into foreign countries with ease. That is great, and I wish it well. But at 48 times earnings and more than 30 times forward earnings, absolutely not. I would much rather own Coca-Cola (NYSE: KO  ) -- a company with a proven product that will never fade from its popularity and a stock trading at half the P/E.

Ratings are often based on short-term prospects and are therefore not relevant to the long-term investor. However, we can use these to dig up useful facts about a company we may not have seen before. It's important not to let the ratings alone color your opinion of a company. As Fools often say, it's better to do the research yourself and come to your own conclusions. Keep an eye on this series to stay in the know and save the rest of your day for coffee and Facebook.

Fool contributor Michael Lewis owns no shares of the stocks mentioned above. The Motley Fool owns shares of Coca-Cola. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Coca-Cola and Monster Beverage. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.


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  • Report this Comment On May 10, 2012, at 3:49 PM, TrojanFan wrote:

    Wait a second...

    Is the author of this article the same Michael Lewis that authored Moneyball, Liar's Poker and The Big Short?

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