Daily Update - February 13, 2023
Selected highlights of the day
By: Matthew Otto
- Today, B of A Securities analyst Madeline Brooks announced her Underperform rating and revealed her Price Target of $64 for Okta. Interestingly, Okta shares had hit a high at the start of 2021, two years ago. Now trading near $75, valuations have come down by roughly from 25% from their early 2021 peak.
Piper Sandler turns bearish on UFCS
Paul Newsome, Piper Sandler analyst has not recommended shorting United Fire Group stock since he began covering four years ago. Newsome downgraded the stock from Neutral to Underweight. Newsome further compounded the worries by weighting his opinion with a reduced price target of $25; previously set at $30.
Google workers not happy with Pichai
Google employees feel strongly about the leadership of CEO Sundar Pichai, and they have particularly strong feelings regarding his handling of the announcement of their ChatGPT rival, Bard. Discussions on the popular internal Memegen forum regularly reference the botched announcement, describing it with terms like “rushed”, “botched” and “un-Googley”.
In an attempt to restore faith in Google’s new conversational technology, Prabhakar Raghavan showcased fresh examples of Bard at a live streamed event in Paris on Wednesday.
As a pointed counter strike against OpenAI’s own ChatGPT Artificial Intelligence technology, this was to demonstrate a commitment from Google to keep competitive.
Their rivals Microsoft were quick to one up them the very following day with their own exclusive announcement- GPT integration within Bing’s homepage search features.
- Jefferies analyst Brent Thill has renewed his assertion of a ‘Buy’ rating for Alphabet. The analyst also maintained his former estimation of $130.
In its respective market, Google dominates as it currently maintains an impressive 85% share on the leading search engines.
- RBC Capital analyst Gregory Renza raised his recommendation on Verrica Pharmaceuticals. He has upgraded the stock from Sector Perform to Outperform, as well as increased his price target from $4 to $11 per share.
Mr. Renza has been bullish on this stock since he first began covering it in the spring of 2021. During that period, shares plummeted from $18 a piece to inevitably reach a yearly low of around $3 due to an industry-wide correction, though a period of recovery soon followed and solidified Verrica promise among investors. The current trading price for this asset sits at about $7.
Morgan Stanley analyst Ravi Shanker has demonstrated a bearish view of Saia since early 2020. Despite attempts to adjust his price target upwards in the face of a rising stock, the analyst was unable to capture all that the company had to offer and experience its climb from $69 per share to $290.
- Today, Shanker has downgraded his outlook from Equal-weight to Underweight while concurrently raising his price target on the stock from $188 to $230.
- Baird analyst Mircea Dobre published a downgrade paper, where he revised Cat stock’s Buy status to Hold, with the price target reduced from $290 per share to $230.
Dorbe suggested that Caterpillar shares had experienced strong results during a cyclical rotation lately, yet now he forecasts these trends could become headwinds instead of facilitating further expansion.
Dobre mentioned the four drivers of Caterpillar stock value: dealer inventories, backlogs, pricing relative to costs, and retail machine sales. All four had been prosperous throughout this period of growth–but they have not always fared so well in times prior; when worries around a downturn arise in the market, investors may shy away from considering Caterpillar stocks.
This last dynamic is a sudden turnaround, as the analyst has held his expectations for this stock above the potential market value over the past several years – in fact, experienced an overall fourfold increase in market value during that time span.
Cowen’s analyst Oliver Chen has downgraded Capri Holdings from ‘Outperform’ to ‘Market Perform’ and lowered the associated price target from $70 to $55. Most of his previous projections have hardly veered away from actual trading prices since 2014.