Four Noteworthy Analyst Calls

Brian is a member of The Motley Fool Blog Network -- entries represent the personal opinion of the blogger and are not formally edited.

An analyst’s call can be a major catalyst for movement in a stock. In the past I have written in detail about such subjects, as a call can often create a domino effect of revised outlooks and either buying or selling of a stock. In this piece I am looking at four stocks that traded with excessive volatility thanks to the notes issued by analysts; these are calls worth noting.

<table> <tbody> <tr> <td> <p><strong>Company</strong></p> </td> <td> <p><strong>Ticker</strong></p> </td> <td> <p><strong>Firm</strong></p> </td> <td> <p><strong>Call</strong></p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td> <p><strong>RF Micro Device</strong></p> </td> <td> <p><span class="ticker" data-id="205209">(NASDAQ: <a href="http://caps.fool.com/Ticker/RFMD.aspx">RFMD</a>)</span></p> </td> <td> <p>Raymond James</p> </td> <td> <p>Market Perform</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td> <p><strong>VeriFone</strong></p> </td> <td> <p><span class="ticker" data-id="208436">(NYSE: <a href="http://caps.fool.com/Ticker/PAY.aspx">PAY</a>)</span></p> </td> <td> <p>Piper Jaffray</p> </td> <td> <p>Neutral</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td> <p><strong>Pioneer Southwest Energy</strong></p> </td> <td> <p><span class="ticker" data-id="210588">(NYSE: <a href="http://caps.fool.com/Ticker/PSE.aspx">PSE</a>)</span></p> </td> <td> <p>UBS</p> </td> <td> <p>Sell</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td> <p><strong>BHP Billiton</strong></p> </td> <td> <p><span class="ticker" data-id="202951">(NYSE: <a href="http://caps.fool.com/Ticker/BHP.aspx">BHP</a>)</span></p> </td> <td> <p>Citigroup</p> </td> <td> <p>Neutral</p> </td> </tr> </tbody> </table>

RF Micro Device

Perhaps no analyst was harsher than Raymond James on Thursday, when the firm downgraded the entire industry of RF chipmakers, specifically RF Micro Device. The firm cited increased competition and weak margins as a contributor to its call, yet the firm is alone with such a low rating on the stock.  

Strangely enough, this downgrade came as Qualcomm introduced a new RF front-end solution featuring a 3D package. As a result, the analyst is correct, this is quickly becoming a congested space, and the stock might be due for a significant correction.

VeriFone

It was a busy day for analysts who cover VeriFone, as the stock led the market in losses with 42.8%. The large loss came as a result of very weak guidance and a warning for both a massive revenue and EPS miss for the current quarter.

Therefore, analysts could not downgrade the stock quickly enough. They are showing concern regarding the company’s exposure to Europe, lost revenue opportunities, and weak South American sales. I think SunTrust said it best: “We are simply at a loss to explain such a huge miss,” a miss that was of epic proportions.

As a result, I would not touch this stock, as it looks like this fundamental decline could be steep.

Pioneer Southwest

Pioneer Southwest fell by almost 4% on Thursday as UBS cut the stock from Neutral to Sell. The firm noted a number of reasons for the bearish outlook, including: long-lived slow-decline assets, an oil-directed drilling program, and balanced commodity exposure.

The firm brings about very valid concerns, yet investors must remember to stay balanced and also weigh the positives. This is a company that is seeing unit gains of 11% in 2013, returns a yield over 8%, and is quite cheap with a P/E ratio at 8.0. Therefore, I think this downgrade might have presented opportunity for many investors.

BHP Billiton

The mining company BHP Billiton was downgraded to Neutral on Thursday after Citigroup noted a number of challenges that the company and its new CEO will face over the next year. The firm believes that all positive catalysts such as cost cuts are priced into the stock.

Furthermore, the firm notes a slower rate of growth in China and reverting prices could have a negative impact on the stock. Currently, the company is seeing a decline in sales and is expected to see earning losses over the next year.

While the company does return a 3% dividend in 2013, I also believe there are too many questions and that there are much better selections in the market.

Conclusion

In my bookTaking Charge With Value Investing (McGraw-Hill), I examine human behavior and the psychological effects that take place in the minds of investors when a stock shoots higher or falls drastically lower (think roulette at a casino). For many investors, chasing these trends is common, even addicting, and very few are capable of realizing their losses because of their occasional gain. Investors need to avoid this behavior, and not look at the performance and then the news, but rather assess the valuation of a stock and then take into consideration the opinions of the analyst. By doing so, you will be able to find the inconsistencies and a distinction between performance and fundamentals, which creates value and allows for large returns. 


BrianNichols 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. Is this post wrong? Click here. Think you can do better? Join us and write your own!

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