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 analyst upgrades and downgrades -- just in case their reasoning behind the call makes sense.
What: Shares of M&T Bank (NYSE:MTB) rallied 1% today after Goldman Sachs upgraded the regional bank from neutral to buy.
So what: Along with the upgrade, analyst Ryan Nash raised his price target to $145 (from $128), representing about 20% worth of upside to yesterday's close. So while contrarian traders might be turned off by the stock's climb in recent months, Nash's call could reflect a sense on Wall Street that the bank's growth prospects still aren't fully baked into the valuation.
Now what: According to Goldman, M&T's risk/reward trade-off is rather attractive at this point. "We believe earnings accretion from HCBK will prove well above original guidance, driving upside to EPS (pro- forma we are 6% above consensus for 2015) and declining professional costs (BSA/AML) and an increased focus on efficiency will drive its ratio toward its 50-55% target," said Nash. "Longer-term, we see 12% upside to EPS from higher rates for the combined bank." Of course, with M&T shares flirting with their 52-week high and trading at a P/E premium to the industry, I'd hold out for a wider margin of safety before buying into that bullishness.
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.