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Tuesday, August 4, 2015
- Though above consensus, Rudolph Technologies' (NYSE:RTEC) Q2 sales were close to the outlook provided in its July 13 pre-announcement. However, the company also guided on its earnings call (transcript) for Q3 revenue of $55M-$61M (23% Y/Y growth at the midpoint) and EPS of $0.17-$0.24, above a consensus of $53.7M and $0.15. It added Q2 book-to-bill was "substantially above 1.0."
- Credit Suisse's Farhan Ahmad has upgraded Rudolph to Outperform in response. He notes the company is soundly outperforming chip equipment peers in both the front-end (chip manufacturing) and back-end (packaging/testing) segments, and expects 2.5D/3D packaging growth and rising lithography system sales to act as tailwinds. Ahmed also thinks Rudolph's exposure to rising advanced packaging capex could make it an M&A target.
- Q2 results, PR
Monday, August 3, 2015
- Activist Starboard Value, which has called for and obtained big changes at many companies, has disclosed a 5.22M-share (8.7%) stake in MedAssets (NASDAQ:MDAS). (13D filing)
- Starboard has sent an open letter (.pdf) to CEO R. Halsey Wise and MedAssets' board. From the 13D: "In the letter, Starboard expressed its belief, among other things, that the Issuer is deeply undervalued relative to the quality of its assets and the earnings power of its core business. Starboard also outlined in the letter a plan to create significant shareholder value by reducing the Issuer’s operating expenses, improving capital allocation, improving corporate governance and exploring all available strategic alternatives ... Starboard also expressed its belief in the letter that if the Issuer were to pursue Starboard’s plan of action, the stock price of the Issuer could be $37-$46 by the end of 2016."
- The healthcare software/services provider has jumped to $26.99 in AH trading.
- Citron Research on Twitter: "$YELP seems a bit overdone. Citron long $YELP vs a core short position in $Z Stocks should meet somewhere in the middle in the next 12 mos."
- The remarks come 5 days after YELP lost over a quarter of its value post-earnings, with 7 firms downgrading the local reviews leader on account of its soft guidance and decision to pull out of the brand ad market.
- Previously: Citron predicts Zillow will fall below $40
- Update (12:50PM ET): Yelp has given back its gains. Shares are now down 0.8%.
- Believing the company can deliver $8 in FY2023 (ends Jan. '23) EPS even if its user base doesn't grow, Credit Suisse's Philip Winslow has added Autodesk (NASDAQ:ADSK) to his company's U.S. and Global Focus Lists, while reiterating an $80 target.
- Winslow's analysis estimates Autodesk has an ASP of $563 per subscription/maintenance user, that subscribers for its AutoCAD LT suite total 1.717M, and that subscribers for other products total 3.283M.
- Autodesk currently has an FY16 EPS consensus of just $1.04. Shares closed yesterday just $2.20 above a 52-week low of $48.38.
- Last month: Credit Suisse hikes Autodesk target, expects $8 in 2023 EPS
- RBC's Mark Sue expects Fitbit (NYSE:FIT) to post Q2 revenue of $325M and EPS of $0.17 on Wednesday afternoon, above consensus estimates of $319M and $0.09. He also thinks RBC's street-high 2017 EPS estimate of $1.20 "may have further room for upside."
- Sue respectively forecasts Q2 and full-year fitness band/activity tracker sales of 3.7M and 16M. Fitbit recorded 3.9M unit sales in Q1 (up from 1.6M a year earlier) ahead of the Apple Watch launch, and 10.9M in 2014. "Fitbit’s stock reaction post earnings may depend on commentary related to top-line growth, units/ASPs, margins, active users, new product uptake and share gain ... Investors are asking us about competitive dynamics as Apple Watch has mostly disappointed and Garmin’s seeing a rapid slowdown in its fitness revenues."
- Shares have made fresh post-IPO highs. They're now up 149% from their $20 IPO price, and 64% from a post-IPO opening trade of $30.40.
Friday, July 31, 2015
- Giants Exxon Mobil (XOM -4.5%) and Chevron (CVX -4.9%) finished significantly lower at the close after each attempted a midday rally, in the wake of earnings misses marked by the continuing crude supply glut and price pressure.
- Oil ETFs fared not much better today: USO -3.2%, OIL -3.7%.
- Producers have key differences that make for advantages and disadvantages, like Chevron's downstream cushion. Exxon's edge over Chevron, Liam Denning notes: M&A. Its stock is down just 19% over the past year while the sector has tumbled 47%.
- As oil's selling point -- big cash distribution -- gets squeezed, Exxon is in relatively good shape. It's still raising its dividend, and it's cut its projected Q3 buybacks to just $500M (vs. zero for Chevron, Shell and BP).
- Exxon says it shops worldwide, but the U.S. may be a more natural hunting ground. Possible targets? According to Wolfe Research's Paul Sankey, Pioneer Natural Resources (PXD -2.4%) and Hess (HES -2.2%).
- ETFs: USO, OIL, UCO, UWTI, SCO, BNO, DBO, DWTI, DTO, USL, DNO, OLO, SZO, OLEM
- Previously: ConocoPhillips -3.3% as dividend gets scrutiny out of earnings (Jul. 31 2015)
- Previously: Chevron -1.8% as earnings tumble, paced by $2.2B upstream loss (Jul. 31 2015)
- Previously: Exxon Mobil off 1.8% premarket after lowest profit since 2009 (Jul. 31 2015)
- Believing telecom capex is improving, Sterne Agee has upgraded NetScout (NTCT +2.4%) to Buy a day after the company posted mixed results for the last quarter (FQ1) prior to its $2.3B acquisition of Danaher's telecom hardware and software product lines (closed in mid-July). Shares are now up 8.2% from Wednesday's close.
- NetScout used its FQ1 report to guide for FY16 (ends March '16) revenue of $1.05B-$1.1B and EPS of $1.80-$1.95. Consensus, which doesn't account for the Danaher deal, is at $503.1M and $2.18. The company noted demand for its nGenius One network service assurance/traffic analysis platform was strong.
- Stratasys (NASDAQ:SSYS) is adding to the big Thursday losses seen after the company provided weak Q3 guidance (while withdrawing full-year guidance) to go with in-line Q2 results. BofA/Merrill and UBS have downgraded to bearish ratings, while Piper has gone contrarian and upgraded to Overweight.
- Piper's Troy Jensen, who has issued several downbeat notes on Stratasys and 3D Systems in recent months, argues bad news is priced in, that the 3D printing industry will return to normalized growth in 2016, and that Stratasys will outgrow the market. UBS, on the other hand, compares 3D printing to an LED industry that has been plagued by excess supply and overinvestment for a long time.
- Yesterday, Needham's James Ricchiuti cut his target by $8 to $38, while reiterating a Buy. "The industry has begun to acknowledge, as SSYS did today, that demand in 2013 and 2014 was inflated unrealistically, resulting in the current painful period of retrenchment as customers digest investments in equipment and capacity. Our view is that the additive manufacturing industry will return to a historical 20%-plus growth rate, we believe as early as next year ... We believe interest in the name will return as SSYS begins to deliver on the growth and profitability that we believe the business is capable of generating, although clearly this will require patience on the part of investors.
- Q2 results, details/Q3 guidance, CC transcript
- Citi's Jeremy David, who had maintained a Neutral rating on GoPro (NASDAQ:GPRO) since July 2014, has upgraded to Buy and set a $90 target.
- Like others, David is upbeat about the potential of drones to expand GoPro's addressable market and boost ASPs. He also praises the company's execution, and calls Q4 estimates achievable.
- Shares have risen to $64.00 premarket. GoPro is 10 days removed from posting a Q2 beat and providing strong Q3 guidance.
- Prior Citi GoPro coverage
Thursday, July 30, 2015
- "If the Company's sales execution does not materially improve and our voice continues to remain unheard, we will have to seriously consider seeking the election of replacements to the Company's Board of Directors at the next annual meeting," writes Violin Memory (NYSE:VMEM) activist investor Clinton Group in an open letter.
- Clinton: "As you know, we requested a meeting with a subset of the Board of Directors to discuss a number of topics germane to creating shareholder value. We believe that a productive meeting benefiting the Company's shareholders can be held without your stated need of a nondisclosure agreement. Your refusal to hold a meeting with an interested shareholder like us in the ordinary course is disappointing."
- The firm also doesn't think much of an upbeat letter provided by Violin to Clinton on July 14. "[T]he stock price is down 24% since the last quarterly earnings report. Furthermore, the stock price today is down 48% since the beginning of the year and down 33% since Mr. [Kevin] Denuccio was named CEO."
- Clinton called on Violin to put itself on sale back in 2013. A temporary standstill agreement was reached in April 2014.
- Barrington Research's Ted Moreau, Jr. has upgraded Sonus (NASDAQ:SONS) to Outperform a day after the company beat Q2 estimates and provided better-than-expected Q3/2015 guidance.
- Moreau expects the new customer wins announced by Sonus (inc. two tier-1 carriers) to lower its custom concentration, and is relieved the company reiterated its full-year revenue guidance. He adds Sonus' ongoing cost cuts could bring op. margin "back into the mid-teens by Q4."
- The VoIP infrastructure and 4G signaling hardware/software provider is up 25% over the last two days.
Wednesday, July 29, 2015
- Energy MLPs have been "whipsawed not just by fundamentally driven factors but also perhaps by more technically oriented trading," Wunderlich's Jeff Birnbaum writes, but despite a challenging backdrop, he still expects Q2 throughput trends generally will meet estimates and does not expect major guidance revisions for H2.
- Birnbaum's top picks are are Enterprise Products Partners (NYSE:EPD), Magellan Midstream Partners (NYSE:MMP) and Western Gas Partners (NYSE:WES); on EPD, he expects “solid” distribution coverage and says recent transactions will “create a slimmer, more integrated and growth-oriented asset base and better position the balance sheet for additional M&A.”
- He cuts price targets for American Midstream Partners (NYSE:AMID) and DCP Midstream Partners (NYSE:DPM) but keeps Buy ratings on both, and rates Targa Resource Partners (NYSE:NGLS) and Targa Resources (NYSE:TRGP) at Hold and thinks Q2 results may disappoint, but says the units are not expensive and may become an acquisition target in the future.
- Stating Q2 checks came back positive and that the company's long-term plan provides a path to profitability, Oppenheimer's Shaul Eyal has upgraded FireEye (NASDAQ:FEYE) to Outperform ahead of tomorrow afternoon's Q2 report.
- Eyal notes a majority of surveyed FireEye resellers met their internal sales goals, and sees greater spending discipline (following a period of aggressive sales and R&D investments) yielding operating leverage. He also expects an ongoing mix shift towards services from hardware to provide a gross margin lift. "With a constant 90% renewal rate, we believe FEYE's 2019 $2B [billings] target, which serves as the basis for improved profitability, is highly feasible."
- Shares have rallied after sporting modest gains earlier today. They're up 50% YTD.
- Believing the company may have "reset 2Q expectations enough" following its Q1 report, Longbow Research's Joe Wittine has upgraded 3D Systems (NYSE:DDD) to Neutral ahead of its Aug. 6 Q2 report.
- Wittine: "DDD could also deliver on, or express further confidence in, its goal of 2H operating leverage (note new R&D sharing agreement with U.S. Navy), or even restore guidance ... A 2Q miss appears less likely and valuation has corrected materially, limiting incremental short opportunity." He also sees the addition of 5 new 3D printer resellers since April 1 as a positive.
- 3D is rallying a day after setting a new multi-year low of $14.06, and closing $0.66 above it. Dougherty upgraded Stratasys two days ago.
Tuesday, July 28, 2015
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