Weekly Reports | Oct 29 2018
By Rudi Filapek-Vandyck, Editor FNArena
The FNArena database tabulates the views of eight major Australian and international stock brokers: Citi, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Macquarie, Morgan Stanley, Morgans, Ord Minnett and UBS.
For the purpose of broker rating correlation, Outperform and Overweight ratings are grouped as Buy, Neutral is grouped with Hold and Underperform and Underweight are grouped as Sell to provide a Buy/Hold/Sell (B/H/S) ratio.
Ratings, consensus target price and forecast earnings tables are published at the bottom of this report.
Period: Monday October 22 to Friday October 26, 2018
Total Upgrades: 24
Total Downgrades: 16
Net Ratings Breakdown: Buy 43.36%; Hold 42.43%; Sell 14.21%
The week ending Friday, 26th October 2018 proved unusually busy for a five day term outside of companies reporting financial results (even though we had a few, among many more AGMs and persistent share market weakness).
FNArena registered no less than 16 downgrades and 24 upgrades in recommendations for individual ASX-listed stocks. A number of stocks received multiple changes, with representations on both sides of the ledger, including AMP, Brambles, Regis Resources, Super Retail, and Northern Star Resources.
Top of the pops was Flight Centre whose AGM update disappointed, but the subsequent sell-off in a weak share market triggered no less than four upgrades from analysts; two went to Buy.
Junior gold producers are prominently represented on both sides, while retailers seem to be well represented when it comes to receiving recommendation downgrades. Clearly, the housing downturn in Australia is having an impact on analysts' forecasts and expectations.
Changes in target prices remain relatively benign with Australia's number one gold and copper producer, Newcrest Mining, commanding the week's top spot with a gain of 3.6%, followed by sector peers Northern Star Resources, St Barbara, and Regis Resources. The numbers look a lot bigger on the negative side where AMP suffered a -10% fall, followed by Flight Centre, WorleyParsons, Super Retail, and Stockland.
The real fireworks, however, was this time reserved for changes to earnings forecasts. Perseus Mining, staging a come-back from share market wilderness, enjoyed a jump of 72% during the week. Next follows Senex Energy, then -oh irony- struggling for survival AMP, then Link Administrations. All enjoyed double digit percentage increases during the week.
The flip side looks equally impressive with the biggest impact on forecasts for Galaxy Resources (-41%), followed by Newcrest Mining, Virgin Australia, then WorleyParsons (acquisitions plus capital raising).
Local out-of-season financial reporting is about to ramp it up one notch, turning investor focus to banks and dividends, while macro concerns continue to weigh.
ASALEO CARE LIMITED ((AHY)) Upgrade to Neutral from Sell by Citi .B/H/S: 0/3/0
Having revisited their numbers and assumptions for Asaleo Care, Citi analysts are now willing to speculate there could be value on offer through selling assets and/or relocation of operations.
There is a strategic review in progress. In addition, Citi analysts are willing to bet pulp prices have peaked. Upgrade to Neutral from Sell. Target price lifts to 80c from 65c.
AMP LIMITED ((AMP)) Upgrade to Neutral from Sell by UBS and Upgrade to Buy from Neutral by Citi .B/H/S: 3/5/0
AMP has announced the sale of its wealth protection and NZ Life businesses for $3.3bn. The company intends to divest its NZ wealth business via an IPO in 2019. A further $150m will be realised from a reinsurance transaction with Swiss Re for NZ Life.
At first glance the proceeds are above estimates but the comparison is not that clear or straightforward, UBS asserts. Still, capital returns are expected to follow and be determined in the second half.
After the share price decline UBS believes valuation support is beginning to emerge and upgrades to Neutral from Sell. Target is reduced to $2.50 from $2.80.
Target price drops to $2.85 from $3.50 but after yet another sharp sell-off, Citi analysts dare to stick their neck out and declare "value" might now be emerging in the shares.
Part of Citi's consideration is that AMP might have $1bn to pass on to shareholders, probably in the form of a buyback, minus extra costs and fines from the Royal Commission fall-out.
Estimates have suffered another reduction, in particular 2019 and 2020. Upgrade to Buy/High Risk from Neutral.
See also AMP downgrade.
BRAMBLES LIMITED ((BXB)) Upgrade to Equal-weight from Underweight by Morgan Stanley and Upgrade to Outperform from Neutral by Credit Suisse .B/H/S: 3/5/0
First half guidance was in line with Morgan Stanley's expectations and this should move consensus estimates to more realistic levels. The broker believes inflation remains a risk although conditions appear to be easing.
The stock has outperformed the market by around 10% since just before its results, which Morgan Stanley believes reflects enthusiasm for the decision to separate out IFCO.
The broker upgrades to Equal-weight from Underweight and raises the target to $10.30 from $9.90. Industry view is Cautious.
First quarter revenue growth of 6% was ahead of Credit Suisse forecasts. Management has indicated that price increases offset the majority of the cost inflation Brambles experienced in the quarter. The broker suggests there could be an acceleration of the pricing benefit over the next 18 months.
Judging from press speculation, Credit Suisse observes significant private equity interest in the IFCO RPC business the company is seeking to sell or de-merge.
The broker upgrades to Outperform from Neutral and raises the target to $11.50 from $10.90.
CLEANAWAY WASTE MANAGEMENT LIMITED ((CWY)) Upgrade to Add from Hold by Morgans .B/H/S: 3/3/0
Morgans observes the share prices declined by almost -20% from its high in August. This provides a buying opportunity, with the broker calculating total potential returns over the next 12 months of around 14%. Hence the rating is upgraded to Add from Hold.
The broker notes the company continues to win large contracts while extracting synergies from the Toxfree acquisition, and has indicated it will not compromise the latter's existing business. Target is raised to $1.89 from $1.86.
DOMAIN HOLDINGS AUSTRALIA LIMITED ((DHG)) Upgrade to Neutral from Sell by Citi .B/H/S: 2/3/1
Data suggest Domain's market share has stabilised in key regions, particularly Melbourne, which leaves the company well positioned for when market conditions normalise, Citi suggests. The broker is forecasting a rapid recovery in Sydney listing volumes from FY20.
The stock's PE still looks expensive in FY19 given a dip in earnings but reasonable thereafter, the broker notes. It's still a premium to REA Group ((REA)) but Citi expects a more rapid recovery for Domain on a Sydney rebound.
Upgrade to Neutral from Sell. Target rises to $2.75 from $2.50.
FLIGHT CENTRE LIMITED ((FLT)) Upgrade to Neutral from Underperform by Credit Suisse and Upgrade to Add from Hold by Morgans and Upgrade to Overweight from Equal-weight by Morgan Stanley and Upgrade to Neutral from Underperform by Macquarie .B/H/S: 4/4/0
Credit Suisse notes guidance for FY19 is around -5% below market estimates and the cause appears to be an underestimating of the impact of labour costs in Australia as well as the absence of credit card surcharge revenue in the UK.
The broker expects the business to settle into a slower rate of productivity improvement in FY19 while the extent of re-basing in Australia is the main uncertainty. Rating is upgraded to Neutral from Underperform. Target is reduced to $43.67 from $44.17.
First half and FY19 guidance were weaker than Morgans expected. The broker observes the top line may be growing but margins are under pressure because of higher costs. Nevertheless, Morgans believes the stock has been oversold and is now trading at a material discount to the sector.
The balance sheet is also strong and the company has an impressive track record in cash flow generation. Still, the broker cautions that patience is required and any re-rating will not occur until evidence the Australian business has recovered.
Rating is upgraded to Add from Hold and the target is reduced to $51 from $59.
Morgan Stanley believes the pull back since the FY18 results provides an attractive entry point. The broker suggests US corporate business is under appreciated, noting Flight Centre now expects profits from overseas business to approach 50% during FY19.
The company is currently conducting a review of the balance sheet and the broker suggests there is scope for capital management. Morgan Stanley upgrades to Overweight from Equal-weight and reduces the target to $59 from $63. Industry view: Cautious.
Guidance provided at the AGM was below expectations, with Australia the source of weakness, Macquarie observes. FY19 pre-tax profit guidance is $390-420m.
With an FY19 PE of 16x the broker believes valuation is now largely addressed. Earnings risk is now more evenly balanced and, at current levels, Macquarie leans to being a buyer, although awaits a more compelling valuation and confidence that the Australian leisure market has stabilised.
Rating is upgraded to Neutral from Underperform. Target is reduced to $47.00 from $48.80.
NEWCREST MINING LIMITED ((NCM)) Upgrade to Neutral from Sell by UBS .B/H/S: 3/4/1
UBS reduces the discount rate used to value Newcrest Mining. The broker acknowledges that valuing the stock with a -10% discount rate can undervalue the long mine life at the three key assets and now uses a -5% discount, upgrading to Neutral from Sell. Target is raised to $22.00 from $14.30.
Nevertheless, the broker considers production and earnings momentum is worrying as this will peak in the next two years because of the grade decline at Cadia before Golpu enters production in the mid 2020s. Golpu will also require significant expenditure prior to first production.
NUFARM LIMITED ((NUF)) Upgrade to Hold from Sell by Deutsche Bank .B/H/S: 4/2/0
Following significant share price weakness, Deutsche Bank has upgraded to Hold from Sell, while sticking with its price target of $6.10.
PERPETUAL LIMITED ((PPT)) Upgrade to Neutral from Underperform by Macquarie .B/H/S: 0/6/1
Perpetual's outflows accelerated to -$1.0bn in the Sep Q from -$0.3bn in June, predominantly from Australian equities, the broker notes. A challenging environment for value managers and the departure of the general manager of wholesale distribution suggests to the broker further downside risk.
A weak share price nevertheless suggests the emergence of valuation support. Upgrade to Neutral from Underperform with a $38 target.
REGIS RESOURCES LIMITED ((RRL)) Upgrade to Neutral from Sell by Citi and Upgrade to Outperform from Neutral by Credit Suisse .B/H/S: 2/5/1
Citi observes downside risk from delays at McPhillamys but upside from growth of the Duketon underground. September quarter production was in line with estimates and beat on costs.
The company is pushing ahead with the low-cost underground mining at Duketon. At McPhillamys a definitive feasibility study and environmental impact statement in the March quarter are expected to trigger a decision to mine.
Rating is upgraded to Neutral from Sell after a pullback in the share price and an earnings boost from a weaker Australian dollar. Target is raised to $4.25 from $3.75.
The September quarter performance was consistent with FY19 guidance, Credit Suisse observes. The broker notes the definitive feasibility study and environmental impact statement for McPhillamys has slipped into the March quarter.
The offer for Capricorn Metals has been withdrawn and the broker suggests the company has shown discipline in withdrawing when it was apparent the controlling shareholder would not accept the offer.
Rating is upgraded to Outperform from Neutral. Target is $4.45.
RELIANCE WORLDWIDE CORPORATION LIMITED ((RWC)) Upgrade to Outperform from Neutral by Credit Suisse .B/H/S: 4/1/0
Credit Suisse observes growing concern over the US housing market but contends that difficult end market conditions provide opportunities. The broker also finds no deterioration from Home Depot's trial of competing PTC fittings.
While the John Guest acquisition adds significant value, the broker suggests growth in Europe will be slower and more difficult than in the US.
Rating is upgraded to Outperform from Neutral. The broker notes Reliance Worldwide has re-rated in line with peers despite no deterioration in its core repair and maintenance market. Target is reduced to $5.60 from $5.70.
SANDFIRE RESOURCES NL ((SFR)) Upgrade to Neutral from Underperform by Credit Suisse .B/H/S: 1/4/2
September quarter production was strong, amid positive grade reconciliation, although continued outperformance in grade is not expected. Credit Suisse observes, despite the development at Monty being behind schedule, it is now on a critical path and infill drilling has commenced.
Black Butte is also about to encounter the public consultation phase. Credit Suisse upgrades to Neutral from Underperform on valuation grounds. Target is steady and $6.70.
SUPER RETAIL GROUP LIMITED ((SUL)) Upgrade to Neutral from Underperform by Credit Suisse and Upgrade to Accumulate from Hold by Ord Minnett .B/H/S: 3/5/0
The company provided a subdued trading update and indicated its CEO would step down in the first half of 2019. Like-for-like sales growth slowed through the past 10 weeks and Credit Suisse suspects additional margin pressure is being experienced in an increasingly difficult retail environment.
The broker upgrades to Neutral from Underperform on valuation grounds because of the slump in the share price but notes the potential for further disappointment in the near term. Target is $8.39.
Ord Minnett believes the reaction in the share price to the AGM update is too severe, and upgrades to Accumulate from Hold. Target is unchanged at $9.50.
The broker believes Super Retail is anchored by a strong automotive business which continues to deliver. Sports is also being assisted by cost savings from the incorporation of Amart into Rebel, while in outdoor the Macpac acquisition is performing strongly.
See also SUL downgrade.
SENEX ENERGY LIMITED ((SXY)) Upgrade to Hold from Lighten by Ord Minnett .B/H/S: 3/2/0
September quarter production grew 4% on the prior quarter but was below Ord Minnett's estimates, as a higher contribution from growth projects was forecast. The company has announced two commercial oil discoveries as part of the 10-well Cooper Basin campaign.
The stock is trading in line with the broker's valuation and the rating is upgraded to Hold from Lighten. Target is unchanged at $0.47.
TPG TELECOM LIMITED ((TPM)) Upgrade to Hold from Lighten by Ord Minnett .B/H/S: 2/1/2
Ord Minnett reviews its investment case and finds both upside and downside risk to its calculations. Upside would come from the fixed wireless broadband opportunity or lower wholesale NBN costs.
This is offset by the risk that the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission blocks the merger with Vodafone Australia. The broker upgrades to Hold from Lighten as the stock is trading below the unchanged target of $7.90.
VIRGIN AUSTRALIA HOLDINGS LIMITED ((VAH)) Upgrade to Neutral from Underperform by Credit Suisse .B/H/S: 0/2/1
First quarter revenue beat expectations and management expects second quarter revenue to rise 10% and underlying pre-tax profit to be at least $100m in the first half. Credit Suisse increases first half estimates to $120m. Rating is upgraded to Neutral from Underperform. Target is steady at $0.20.
The broker suspects Virgin Australia may be benefiting from the capacity cuts in the Qantas ((QAN)) domestic business. The broker raises FY19 pre-tax profit estimates by 17% but expects a weaker profit outcome in FY20 because of higher fuel costs.
WORLEYPARSONS LIMITED ((WOR)) Upgrade to Neutral from Underperform by Credit Suisse .B/H/S: 2/4/0
WorleyParsons will acquire the energy, chemicals and resources division of Jacob's Engineering for US$3.3bn. The deal will be funded via an entitlement offer, debt and placement, leaving Jacob's Engineering with 11% ownership of WorleyParsons.
Credit Suisse estimates the price is reasonably full but the deal does provides an opportunity to capture new business from both geography and a sector perspective.
Trading multiples appear enough to justify the price and the broker is pleased the balance sheet is not compromised. Nevertheless, it is expected to take some time for the company to demonstrate the upside. Credit Suisse upgrades to Neutral from Underperform. Target is raised to $17.60 from $10.50.
AGL ENERGY LIMITED ((AGL)) Downgrade to Reduce from Hold by Morgans .B/H/S: 2/2/3
The federal government has asked the regulator to implement a default pricing policy to replace standing offers. The exact mechanism is yet to be determined and a new pricing structure will not be revealed until January 2019.
While AGL has only 4% of its customers on standing offers, Morgans leaves there will be pricing pressure across the retail market. The broker's estimates show that a -10% reduction in retail prices from current levels would reduce FY20 net profit by over -$100m.
The broker does not envisage a lot of upside for the stock and downgrades to Reduce from Hold. Target is lowered to $16.89 from $19.78.
ATLAS ARTERIA ((ALX)) Downgrade to Hold from Add by Morgans .B/H/S: 4/2/0
APRR traffic and toll revenue in the September quarter was softer than Morgans forecast and below long-term trends. The weakness in traffic at Dulles Greenway was not unexpected and the broker expects further declines in 2019.
At APRR the traffic benefit from strike activity experienced in previous periods has subsided while fuel prices had a weakening impact, particularly given the size of the diesel increase. At DG the decline in traffic was affected by Hurricane Florence as well as improvements in the surrounding road network.
Morgans downgrades to Hold from Add and raises the target to $6.95 from $6.94.
AMP LIMITED ((AMP)) Downgrade to Neutral from Outperform by Credit Suisse .B/H/S: 3/5/0
The company has announced the sale of Australian & NZ wealth protection and mature business assets at a much larger discount than Credit Suisse assumed. Furthermore, the broker is not confident investors will get to enjoy the proceeds for a number of years, if at all.
The broker believes the willingness to go ahead with the deal indicates that AMP is prepared to write off significant value in an effort to reshape the company. The broker downgrades to Neutral from Outperform and lowers the target to $2.65 from $4.30.
See also AMP upgrade.
BELLAMY'S AUSTRALIA LIMITED ((BAL)) Downgrade to Hold from Add by Morgans .B/H/S: 1/1/0
The company has revised FY19 guidance, given a more challenging operating environment in both Australia and China following a slowing in the category and increased competition.
Morgans notes, unexpectedly, management has decided to run down distributor trade inventory and support the re-launch of its upgraded range in the second half. This will reduce first half sales by -$10-15m.
First half Australian label sales are expected to be down -10-15%. Morgans downgrades FY19 net profit forecasts by -15.6%. The broker is disappointed with the update and believes FY19 will be a transition year for the company. Rating is downgraded to Hold from Add. Target is reduced to $8.75 from $14.02.
CIMIC GROUP LIMITED ((CIM)) Downgrade to Neutral from Outperform by Credit Suisse .B/H/S: 2/3/0
Net profit for the nine months to September was up 12.6%, in line with Credit Suisse expectations. Work in hand is stable at $35bn and management expects a further $35bn in bidding opportunities this year.
The broker maintains a target of $47.50, believing a premium rating for CIMIC is appropriate because of robust contract gains, order book and margins. Rating is downgraded to Neutral from Outperform.
EVENT HOSPITALITY AND ENTERTAINMENT LTD ((EVT)) Downgrade to Sell from Neutral by Citi .B/H/S: 1/0/1
Citi analysts see downside risks to FY19 earnings momentum, which is driving their decision to downgrade to Sell from Neutral.
Medium-to-long-term, the analysts admit this company has growth potential from its property development pipeline, plus the shares look "cheap" on current multiples.
Estimates have been cut. Target price falls by -16% to $12.95.
MYER HOLDINGS LIMITED ((MYR)) Downgrade to Lighten from Hold by Ord Minnett .B/H/S: 0/2/3
Ord Minnett notes, having toured the company's Southland store, a greater emphasis on gifting, discounting discipline and operating earnings.
Given the share price performance since the FY18 result, and despite a recent retracement, the broker believes valuation support has reduced, leading to a downgrade to Lighten from Hold. Target is $0.43.
NICK SCALI LIMITED ((NCK)) Downgrade to Neutral from Outperform by Macquarie .B/H/S: 0/2/0
Nick Scali 's Sep Q update showed sales are keeping pace and the retailer is outperforming peers, Macquarie notes, but cyclical risk is to the downside as the housing market slows and the lower A$ is expected to weigh on margins.
Internal initiatives have strengthened the operating model but sentiment will remain weak, the broker believes, given the housing downturn. Downgrade to Neutral from Outperform, target falls to $5.70 from $7.50.
NORTHERN STAR RESOURCES LTD ((NST)) Downgrade to Neutral from Outperform by Macquarie and Downgrade to Neutral from Buy by Citi and Downgrade to Hold from Accumulate by Ord Minnett .B/H/S: 0/4/3
Northern Star posted a solid Sep Q production report, Macquarie suggests. Costs were higher, but impacted by mill constraints at Pogo and an inventory build at Kalgoorlie.
First data from Pogo highlighted a key opportunity, the broker believes, and a more aggressive ramp-up leads to a target price increase to $9.80 from $9.40. The broker has nonetheless downgraded to Neutral from Outperform on valuation, while noting significant upside were spot gold and A$ prices incorporated.
Downgrade to Neutral from Buy while adding $1 to the price target; $9.25 instead of $8.25. The latter is a result of higher forecasts for gold in AUD for FY19-FY21.
The downgrade is the result of a firm rally in the share price. Citi acknowledges the Pogo acquisition will be "transformational" for the company, but it's already in the price, the analysts believe.
They note costs were higher in the September quarter, while management kept its guidance intact.
September quarter production was below Ord Minnett's estimates because of lower output at the Pogo operation. The company has flagged productivity gains and expects costs to fall from the March quarter 2019.
Ord Minnett's conviction regarding the upside potential at Pogo remains intact and the rest of FY19 should be about executing on expectations. While the stock is not particularly expensive, the broker observes it is trading ahead of mid-cap peers and downgrades to Hold from Accumulate. Target is steady at $9.
STOCKLAND ((SGP)) Downgrade to Underweight from Overweight by Morgan Stanley .B/H/S: 2/3/2
Morgan Stanley suggests the limited number of contracts on hand for FY20 could mean reductions to expectations if residential weakness persists. The company has only 974 contracts due to settle beyond FY19.
As house price declines are accelerating, and price expectations are a key driver of future activity, Morgan Stanley reduces FY20 settlement forecast by -6%. The strong correlation between the company's residential deposits and retail growth suggests ongoing pressure on retail operating metrics.
The broker envisages Stockland could look to dispose of around $1bn in retail assets in a bid to improve the quality of its portfolio. Rating is downgraded to Underweight from Overweight. Target is reduced to $4.15 from $4.60. Cautious industry view.
SILVER CHEF LIMITED ((SIV)) Downgrade to Reduce from Hold by Morgans .B/H/S: 0/0/1
Silver Chef has recently received waiver extensions for its debt covenants to March 31, 2019. The waiver is conditional on the raising of $45m in additional capital and ensuring the net rental asset loan-to-valuation ratio is less than 65%. The company expects to introduce subordinated debt to its capital structure as part of the agreement with bankers.
Morgans has highlighted the earnings risk for some time and believes the requirement to raise additional capital has further increased the risk for equity holders in the near term. Rating is downgraded to Reduce from Hold until stability in the business returns. Target is reduced to $1.62 from $2.57.
SUPER RETAIL GROUP LIMITED ((SUL)) Downgrade to Neutral from Outperform by Macquarie .B/H/S: 3/5/0
Super Retail's sales growth in the Sep Q was in line with expectation. Auto was solid as usual, Rebel was good, Macpac was strong and, as usual, BCF brought the team down.
Management commentary was cautious nonetheless, Macquarie notes, suggesting signs of weakening consumer sentiment and forcing the need to balance sales growth and manage margins. Investor sentiment is likely to remain cautious with regard the retail sector, and the departure of the CEO adds to uncertainty.
Macquarie downgrades to Neutral from Outperform. Target falls to $8.70 from $10.50.
See also SUL upgrade.
THE REJECT SHOP LIMITED ((TRS)) Downgrade to Underweight from Equal-weight by Morgan Stanley .B/H/S: 0/1/1
Morgan Stanley has re-based expectations on the back of the company's recent profit downgrade. Comparable sales have deteriorated in the first weeks of FY19, attributed to weakness in the retail environment, increasing competition and promotional pricing.
Morgan Stanley finds it difficult to envisage this will ease in the lead up to Christmas. The broker does not rule out another profit downgrade post Christmas and, if conditions persist, believes there is a risk of a loss sooner rather than later.
Rating is downgraded to Underweight from Equal-weight on the target reduced to $2.10 from $6.10. In-Line industry view.
VOCUS GROUP LIMITED ((VOC)) Downgrade to Neutral from Buy by Citi .B/H/S: 0/5/1
Vocus is in a transition year, Citi suggests, with new management in place which should provide for a rebase for earnings growth from FY20. The broker sees a meaningful step-up in earnings over the longer term but it is a three year recovery story.
With no meaningful upgrades likely this year and the stock price approaching Citi's target, the broker downgrades to Neutral from Buy. Target unchanged at $3.65.
Broker Recommendation Breakup
Positive Change Covered by > 2 Brokers
Negative Change Covered by > 2 Brokers
Positive Change Covered by > 2 Brokers
Negative Change Covered by > 2 Brokers
Positive Change Covered by > 2 Brokers
Negative Change Covered by > 2 Brokers
If you are reading this story through a third party distribution channel and you cannot see charts included, we apologise, but technical limitations are to blame.
Find out why FNArena subscribers like the service so much: "Your Feedback (Thank You)" – Warning this story contains unashamedly positive feedback on the service provided.