While Fools should generally take the opinion of Wall Street with a grain of salt, it's not a bad idea to take a closer look at particularly stock-shaking upgrades and downgrades -- just in case their reasoning behind the call makes sense.
What: Shares of Swift Energy (NYSE:SFY) slipped 2% on Friday after Wells Fargo downgraded the oil and gas producer from outperform to market perform.
So what: Along with the downgrade, analyst David Tameron lowered his valuation range to $11-$13 (from $14-$17), with the midpoint representing just 8% worth of upside to yesterday's close. So while contrarian traders might be attracted to Swift's year-to-date price sluggishness, Tameron's call could reflect a sense on Wall Street that the risks surrounding the company's restructuring efforts are likely to keep pressuring the stock.
Now what: According to Wells, Swift's risk/reward trade-off isn't too appealing at this point. "The company delivered on its Eagle Ford JV earlier this year, but in our view, additional asset sales are needed to de-lever the balance sheet and provide flexibility in 2015," said Tameron. "While the company has its CLATEX assets on the market, continued delays and a disjointed package of assets leave us thinking that either the deal won't get done, or only parts of it will." Of course, with Swift shares now off about 30% from their 52-week high and sporting a price-to-book ratio of 0.5, the downside might be limited enough to bet on management's ability to unlock more value.
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.