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While Fools should generally take the opinion of Wall Street with a grain of salt, it's not a bad idea to take a look at particularly stock-shaking analyst upgrades and downgrades -- just in case their reasoning behind the call makes sense.
What: Shares of Consolidated Edison (NYSE: ED ) gained about 1% in premarket trading today after Jefferies upgraded the electricity company from underperform to hold.
So what: Along with the upgrade, analyst Paul Fremont boosted his price target to $58 (from $45), representing about 5% worth of upside to yesterday's close. While momentum traders might be turned off by the stock's steady decline over the past year, Fremont thinks that Consolidated's risk/reward trade-off is much improved at this point.
Now what: Wells raised its 2014 EPS view for Consolidated from $3.60 to $3.75 and its 2015 outlook from $3.80 to $3.90. "The stock currently trades at a 6% discount to our regulated group average T&D multiple and pays a 4.6% yield which is 40 bps above the average yield for large-cap regulated utilities," noted Fremont. "We believe the stock should trade at a group average multiple which results in a $58.50 price target." Given Consolidated's worrisome trend of declining revenue and still-hefty debt load, however, I'd wait for an even wider margin of safety before jumping in.
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