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 Anadarko Petroleum (NYSE:APC) climbed 5% today after the natural-gas producer posted better than expected quarterly results and received a neutral-to-buy upgrade from Citigroup.
So what: Along with the upgrade, analyst Robert Morris raised his price target to $115 (from $112), representing about 16% worth of upside to yesterday's close. So while contrarian traders might be turned off by Anadarko's sharp rise in recent weeks, Morris' call could reflect a growing sense on Wall Street that the company's prospects still aren't fully baked into the valuation.
Now what: According to Citi, Anadarko's Q1 results were particularly strong. "Anadarko reported recurring Q1'14 EPS/CFPS of $1.26/$5.00 versus our $1.19/$4.23 estimates and Street consensus of $1.15/$4.20 with production of 72.2 MMBOE above the high-end of 69-71 MMBOE guidance and our forecast of 70.1 MMBOE. This more than offset higher-than-anticipated G&A and non-cash Exploration Expense," said Morris. "Based on the Q1 beat and an acceleration of activity in the Wattenberg and Delaware Basin Wolfcamp play, full-year 'same store' production guidance was increased ~1% to 803-816 MBOE/d (we now model 816 MBOE/d, or an 8.7% yr/yr 'organic' uptick) while the capital budget was boosted by ~4%, or $300mm, to $8.4-8.8bn." Of course, with Anadarko shares now up more than 40% from their 52-week low and trading at a forward P/E of 20, I'd hold out for a wider margin of safety before buying into that operating momentum.
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Brian Pacampara has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.