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 Raymond James Financial (NYSE: RJF ) traded sluggishly on Wednesday after Goldman Sachs downgraded the financial holding company from buy to neutral.
So what: Along with the downgrade, analyst Alexander Blostein lowered his price target to $54 (from $59), representing about 12% worth of upside to yesterday's close. So while contrarian traders might be attracted to Raymond James' sharp pullback in recent months, Blostein's call could reflect a sense that its growth headaches still aren't fully baked into the valuation.
Now what: According to Goldman, Raymond's risk/reward trade-off is pretty balanced at this point. "[G]iven the recent deceleration in retail activity and the choppier equity market backdrop, we expect near-term revenue growth to decelerate, pressuring estimates," said Blostein. "Moreover, with the Morgan Keegan acquisition now fully in the run-rate and lack of meaningful capital actions, we see fewer idiosyncratic catalysts to stay attractive." Given Raymond James' strong position in wealth management and still-juicy expansion prospects, however, those short-term concerns might be providing patient Fools with an attractive long-term opportunity.
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