Tech

Tim Culpan is a technology columnist for Bloomberg Gadfly. He previously covered technology for Bloomberg News.

Sharp Corp. shares are up 33 percent since January, and that's on top of their 116 percent gain last year after Foxconn Technology Group took control.

That's great for investors; not so much for sell-side analysts. They've remained stubbornly bearish on the Japanese liquid crystal display maker, so much so that if you had followed the recommendations of all but one of the 13 tracked by Bloomberg over the past 12 months, you'd have lost money.

Bearishly Stubborn
Sell-side analysts haven't upgraded their recommendations on Sharp despite a Foxconn-led turnaround
Source: Bloomberg

Most have price targets that are underwater. Hideki Yasuda of ACE Research Institute is the only soul brave enough to break from the pack and give the stock an outperform, with a price target of 4,500 yen ($39.40), implying a further 25 percent upside from Friday's close. Two others rate Sharp a hold, while 10 say sell.

It's a rare thing to see price targets actually below the trading level of a stock, but this baker's dozen have made it happen.

Do Not Adjust Your Set
Sharp shares are trading 55 percent higher than the average of analysts' 12-month price targets
Source: Bloomberg

Sharp's announcement of fiscal second-quarter operating and net income that beat estimates now marks the fourth consecutive time earnings have surpassed the projections of that same pool of analysts.

Furthermore, the company on Friday raised its own full-year forecasts for those same two metrics. Whether that will be enough for sell-side analysts to finally give some credit for the Foxconn turnaround will be interesting to watch.

Back in December, I advised readers to keep an eye on Foxconn's Tai Jeng-wu, the lieutenant appointed by Terry Gou to run Sharp after the takeover. With the latest boost in outlook it now seems clear the fox is beating the bears.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.

To contact the author of this story:
Tim Culpan in Taipei at tculpan1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story:
Katrina Nicholas at knicholas2@bloomberg.net