Inside the Market's roundup of some of today's key analyst actions. This file will be updated during the trading day. For breaking analyst actions prior to market open every day, read our Before the Bell morning report.
While Lululemon Athletica Inc. hit some speed bumps in 2013, the bulk of the bad news is in the rear-view mirror, said RBC Dominion Securities analyst Howard Tubin as he upgraded the stock to "outperform" from "sector perform."
"With a new senior leadership team, a brand that remains strong (per our survey work), and a stock that is off 43 per cent from its 52-week high and 23 per cent year-to-date, we believe the entry point is compelling," Mr. Tubin said in a research note.
That survey he referenced was recently conducted by RBC and involved 350 women who had purchased or worn Lululemon merchandise. The results suggested that the brand has not suffered meaningfully due to last year's debacle over pants that were too sheer.
"Our survey shows that our respondent's perception of garment quality has been consistent over the prior two years and it shows little change to their future purchase intentions," he said.
Meanwhile, the stock's valuation is attractive, he said. The stock price trades at 21 times Mr. Tubin's 2014 earnings per share estimate. In 2013, it had averaged 28 times and had averaged 31 times over both the prior two-year and five-year periods.
"We believe the recent sell-off presents investors with a unique opportunity to buy into what remains one of the most compelling growth stories in the softlines space," he said.
Mr. Tubin reiterated a $56 (U.S.) price target.
CIBC World Markets analyst Arnold Van Graan has turned considerably more bullish on Silver Standard Resources Inc. after the company this week agreed to acquire the Marigold mine in Nevada from Goldcorp Inc. and Barrick Gold Corp. for $275-million.
He upgraded the stock to "sector outperformer" from "sector performer" and raised his price target to $11 (Canadian) from $6.20.
"We believe there is a clear strategic rationale for this deal, as it delivers a diversification of production, cash flows and resources out of Argentina and into Nevada," Mr. Van Graan commented in a research note. "We believe that the deal value is attractive for Silver Standard on a number of metrics."
Fourth-quarter profits that missed Street expectations were probably due to one-time events and do not change the positive outlook for General Motors Corp., says UBS analyst Colin Langan.
Mr. Langan notes that while GM's adjusted earnings before interest and taxes missed consensus forecasts by $300-million, this was largely because of non-recurring items.
Lower-than-expected wholesale volumes due to pickups in transit hit its North American unit, while a product termination hit profits in its South American business. Farther afield, international operations were affected by restructuring costs in Australia and high launch costs in China.
On the bright side, Mr. Langan says solid North American pricing makes him confident of further margin growth as GM continues to ramp up pickup production.
He maintained a "buy" rating and increased his price target to $52 (U.S.) from $49. Several other analysts generally agreed with his assessment. Goldman Sachs reiterated a "conviction buy" rating and a $48 (U.S.) price target, commenting that shares are significantly undervalued at current trading levels. RBC Dominion Securities reiterated an "outperform" rating but cut its price target to $48 (U.S.) from $52.
The analyst consensus price target is $47.25, according to Thomson Reuters.
In other analyst actions:
Canaccord Genuity upgraded Detour Gold to "hold" from "sell" after the company provided an updated mine plan. It raised its price target to $8 (Canadian) from $4.50.
TD Securities raised its price target on Nuvista Energy to $11 (Canadian) from $8.50 and maintained a "buy" rating.
National Bank Financial downgraded Saputo to "sector perform" from "outperform" but raised its price target to $56 (Canadian) from $54.
CIBC World Markets downgraded Canfor Corp. to "sector performer" from "sector outperformer" and maintained a $32 (Canadian) price target. It also downgraded Canfor Pulp Products to "sector performer" with an unchanged price target of $14 (Canadian).
Desjardins Securities raised its price target on Gluskin Sheff to $32 (Canadian) from $29 and maintained a "hold" rating.
National Bank Financial initiated coverage on Painted Pony Petroleum with an "outperform" rating and $10 (Canadian) price target.
Goldman Sachs downgraded Lowe's to "neutral" from "buy" and cut its price target to $51 (U.S.) from $54.
Wells Fargo upgraded Starbucks to "outperform" from "market perform" and raised its price target to $88 (U.S.) from $75.
JPMorgan upgraded Kellogg to "neutral" from "underweight" with a price target of $55 (U.S.).
Goldman Sachs cut its price target on LinkedIn to $256 (U.S.) from $285 and maintained a "buy" rating. Canaccord Genuity cut its target to $250 from $270 and maintained a "buy" rating. UBS cut its target to $225 from $250 and maintained a "neutral" rating.
Canaccord Genuity upgraded Oasis Petroleum to "buy" from "hold" and hiked its price target to $55 (U.S.) from $50.
Global Hunter Securities downgraded Diamond Offshore to "sell" from "neutral" and cut its price target to $38 (U.S.) from $61.
Global Hunter Securities upgraded Patterson-UTI Energy to "buy" from "neutral" and raised its price target to $33 (U.S.) from $22.
For more analyst actions, breaking investing news and analysis, follow Darcy Keith on Twitter at @eyeonequities