In a Bay Street version of "good cop, bad cap," GMP Securities analyst Stephen Boland and Dundee Securities' John Aiken weighed in on TMX Group Inc.'s (TMXGF.PK) latest quarterly results with two very different conclusions.
Mr. Boland maintained his "buy" rating and C$34 price target on TMX stock, after the exchange reported fourth quarter profit of C$49-million or C$0.65 a share, compared with a profit of C$30.4-million, or C$0.45 a share this time last year.
Mr. Boland said in a note to clients:
Removing the one time interest-rate swap related loss, X delivered a strong quarter that beat both our estimate and the consensus estimates by a significant amount. In our view, extreme market volatility has been beneficial as it has increased volumes on the exchanges, a benefit reflected through X’s impressive trading and related Q4/08 revenue.
The GMP analyst said several factors weigh in TMX's favour including a solid dividend yield of 4.9%, a strong balance sheet and diversified earnings.
He added that X also generates industry leading margins and substantial cash flow that should mean more share buybacks or debt repayment in this year.
John Aiken, on the other hand, was less kind, downgrading his TMX rating from "neutral" to "sell." He also cut his price target on the stock from C$31 to C$28, saying TMX's fourth quarter earnings likely represent a peak for some time to come.
As revenues decline in coming quarters (augmented by our expectation of billed initial and additional revenues falling below reported levels), we believe that earnings will increasingly come under pressure.
Further, the recent run-up in TMX Group's valuation has brought in additional risk as it now trades at a premium to its international peers.