Weekly Ratings, Targets, Forecast Changes

Weekly Reports | Jul 08 2019

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 July 1 to Friday July 5, 2019
Total Upgrades: 5
Total Downgrades: 10
Net Ratings Breakdown: Buy 39.23%; Hold 44.67%; Sell 16.10%

It is quiet in the land of stockbroking analyst where attention is increasingly shifting towards the upcoming August reporting season.

With the local share market moving ever higher, destined to revisit the all-time high from 2007, it is no surprise that when it comes to recommendations for individual ASX-listed entities, the balance remains heavily weighted towards downgrades.

For the week ending Friday, 5th July 2019, FNArena registered five upgrades, of which only two moved to Buy, and ten downgrades. Only three of the downgrades moved to Sell with Independence Group, Origin Energy and Netwealth the unlucky receivers. Independence Group also received a second downgrade which ended on Neutral.

Most cited reason for the downgrade is a share price that looks too expensive with what is likely to follow next in terms of growth outlook.

It's eerily quiet in the section dedicated to share price targets. Both positive and negative amendments have only two changes worth mentioning; Growthpoint Properties and Mirvac Group on the plus side, and New Hope Corp and Netwealth on the minus side of the week's ledger.

The view is hardly different when we zoom in on earnings forecast changes. Apart from Perseus Mining, Insurance Australia Group and Independence Group there is not much to report in terms of positive changes. The negative side has Galaxy Resources, Graincorp, Superloop and Japara Healthcare standing above the crowd.

Economic data and expectations of central bank rate cuts continue to dominate equity markets globally. The focus might switch to corporate profits soon with the Q2 season about to start in the US and with Australia less than one month away from its own corporate reporting season.


AGL ENERGY LIMITED ((AGL)) Upgrade to Neutral from Underperform by Credit Suisse .B/H/S: 0/5/3

Credit Suisse expects the company's retail gross margins to bottom in FY20 and net margins to bottom in FY19. AGL Energy is expected to report FY19 net profit of $1.01bn, just below the mid point of guidance.

The broker upgrades to Neutral from Underperform as the stock has underperformed its historical correlation to bonds and utility peers. Target is raised to $19.20 from $18.30.

NEW HOPE CORPORATION LIMITED ((NHC)) Upgrade to Add from Hold by Morgans .B/H/S: 2/1/0

Morgans observes sharply weaker seaborne thermal coal prices have contributed to a correction in the stock of almost -40%, attributing the weakness to tepid demand, poor producer discipline and some fuel switching into LNG.

The broker believes, while the stock may temporarily be in the "too hard basket", significant value is on offer. The broker considers the market value ignores the non-cash producing assets and the potential recovery in the coal price.

Rating is upgraded to Add from Hold. Target is reduced to $3.37 from $3.80.

ORIGIN ENERGY LIMITED ((ORG)) Upgrade to Outperform from Neutral by Credit Suisse .B/H/S: 5/3/0

Credit Suisse upgrades to Outperform from Neutral as the stock has underperformed electricity and Brent futures as well as its peers in energy. Margins are expected to bottom in FY20.

The broker expects a strong result, at the top end of guidance, when Origin Energy reports on August 22. Target is increased to $8.50 from $7.55.

PILBARA MINERALS LIMITED ((PLS)) Upgrade to Hold from Lighten by Ord Minnett .B/H/S: 2/1/0

Ord Minnett updates commodity price forecasts, skewing its preferences towards bulk commodities and gold. Downgrades of -5-7% occur across base metals.

The broker notes iron ore prices hit 2019 peak this week, pushing over US$125/t amid ongoing reductions in China's port stocks and strength in Chinese demand.

Rating is upgraded to Hold from Lighten. Target is reduced to $0.60 from $0.65.

SPEEDCAST INTERNATIONAL LIMITED ((SDA)) Upgrade to Neutral from Underperform by Macquarie .B/H/S: 0/3/0

Operational issues continue to dog SpeedCast, as evidenced by a -12% earnings guidance downgrade for FY19. Leverage is now an issue, with debt covenants at risk, Macquarie notes.

There is thus a risk an equity raising will be required, however there is also a chance SpeedCast could now be itself corporate target having made over 15 acquisitions since 2012. It would depend on whether another player is prepared to take on the debt, but given SpeedCast's lower valuation, Macquarie upgrades to Neutral.

Target falls to $2.25 from $2.85.


INSURANCE AUSTRALIA GROUP LIMITED ((IAG)) Downgrade to Equal-weight from Overweight by Morgan Stanley .B/H/S: 2/5/1

Morgan Stanley believes the investment case is robust, with cost reductions and capital initiatives, but there is a risk of a rising catastrophe budget amid lower yields and elevated compliance costs. This is likely to contribute to softer FY20 guidance.

The broker downgrades to Equal-weight from Overweight. Target is reduced to $8.20 from $8.50. Industry view: In Line.

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