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 Devon Energy Corp (NYSE:DVN) rallied 2.5% today after Bank of America initiated coverage on the oil and natural gas producer with a buy rating.
So what: Along with the bullish call, analyst Doug Leggate planted a price target of $100 on the stock, representing about 34% worth of upside to yesterday's close. So, while contrarian traders might be turned off by Devon's price strength over the past year, Leggate's call could reflect a sense on Wall Street that its asset monetization prospects still aren't fully baked into the valuation.
Now what: According to B of A, Devon's risk/reward trade-off remains rather attractive at this point. "Versus our initial positive view in early 2013, management has surpassed our expectations: this starts with EnLink, providing a public marker for a previously overlooked midstream business, but with options to monetize retained interests at an accretive multiple," said Leggate. "Critically, when adjusted for the value of its public holdings, we believe DVN stands on the lowest multiple in the sector."
When you couple that industry discount with Devon's attractive margin expansion and cash flow growth prospects, it's tough to disagree with B of A's bullishness.