Opinions on stocks in the news on Thursday
From Standard & Poor's Equity ResearchCIBC WORLD RAISES TARGET FOR ORACLE
CIBC World analyst Brad Reback says he's raising his target price for Oracle (ORCL) to $26 from $24 after another strong quarterly performance from the company, which it backed (again) with a solid outlook. He believes Oracle's ever-expanding product portfolio is enabling it to solidify its strategic importance with customers, which is generating better deal flow.
Reback says Oracle's revenues and EPS of $5.4 billion and $0.31 (non-GAAP) handily beat his estimates. And while gross margins were in line, operating margins of 41.3% topped his 38.7% estimate.
He raises fiscal year 2008 (May) EPS estimate by $0.06 to $1.28, reflecting a more bullish license outlook along with an improvement in margins. He also raises fiscal year 2009 EPS by $0.04 to $1.45. He reiterates sector outperform.
MORGAN KEEGAN UPS PIER 1 IMPORTS TO MARKET PERFORM
Morgan Keegan analyst Laura Champine tells S&P MarketScope that Pier 1 Imports (PIR) reported loss per share of $0.11 handily beat consensus forecast of $0.24 loss and her estimate of $0.30 loss. She says net sales decreased 7% in the quarter, but this was better than her 11% drop estimate; SGA expense as a percentage of net sales was 290 basis points below her estimate.
Champine adds that this is the first time in seven quarters that the company reported positive EBITDA ($2.2 million). She also notes that Pier 1 is benefitting from the closure of about 100 of its non-performing stores.
She upgrades from underperform on its third quarter performance and fact that the stock has been beaten down recently.
NEEDHAM UPS STANDARD MICROSYSTEMS TO STRONG BUY FROM BUY
Analyst Vernon Essi Jr. says Standard Microsystems (SMSC) $105 million third quarter revenues beat his and consensus ests; $0.53 EPS was in line. He says near term visibility is solid with a building backlog and a positive book-to-bill.
Essi notes that SMSC experienced strong upside in personal computers, posted in-line but strong seasonal consumer electronics gains and announced Kia and Hyundai as new adopters of its MOST product.
He upgrades because conditions remain healthy in PC and CE; the long-term growth is reinforced by MOST wins; the company's 1 million share buyback announced last month is untapped; and the stock (as of yesterday's close) was 35% below his $46 price target. He ups $1.84 fiscal year 2008 (February) EPS estimate to $1.89; he sees $2.12 for fiscal year 2009.