Why Pier 1 Imports Inc Shares Could Pop 40%

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 Pier 1 Imports Inc (NYSE: PIR  ) gained about 1% on Thursday after Nomura Securities initiated coverage on the home furnishings retailer with a buy rating.

So what: Along with the bullish call, analyst Jessica Schoen Mace planted a price target of $22 on the stock, representing about 43% worth of upside to yesterday's close. So while momentum traders might be turned off by Pier 1's sharp price decline over the past year, Schoen Mace's call could reflect a sense on Wall Street that its turnaround prospects are becoming too cheap to pass up.

Now what: According to Nomura, Pier 1's risk/reward trade-off is particularly attractive at this point. "We believe the recent pullback in PIR shares (-37% off 52-week highs) affords a compelling opportunity to participate in upside from strong e-commerce growth, positive consumer reaction to the brand and product (as evidenced by strong conversion), long-term margin recovery from increasing scale and driving leverage, and a solid balance sheet," said Schoen Mace. "PIR offers a strong assortment of unique merchandise with encouraging indications demonstrating the strength of the brand." When you couple that upbeat outlook with Pier 1's PEG of 0.8, it's tough to disagree with Nomura's bullishness. 

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