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 Alcatel-Lucent (UNKNOWN:ALU.DL) closed down 1.8% yesterday after Raymond James downgraded the communication equipment company from strong buy to market perform.
So what: Despite the downgrade, analyst Simon Leopold thinks Alcatel's assets are worth about $4.50 per share, suggesting that it trades at about a 15% discount to its break-up value. The problem for Leopold is that meaningful asset sales aren't exactly a lock, and based on Alcatel's actual earnings power, the stock looks more than fairly valued.
Now what: While the sale of Alcatel's wireless division would be accretive, Raymond James thinks the risks surrounding such a move are significant. "[W]e point out that a potential divestiture of the Wireless business could adversely impact Alcatel-Lucent's relationships with its largest customers AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon," noted Raymond James. "These three customers represent the majority of the wireless revenue and recently have accounted for over 30% of revenue." With the stock up a staggering 330% over its 52-week lows and trading at a price-to-book of almost 5, I'd agree that the downside associated with Alcatel's options are largely being overlooked by investors.
Fool contributor 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.