Weekly Reports | Aug 17 2020
This story features AGL ENERGY LIMITED, and other companies. For more info SHARE ANALYSIS: AGL
By Mark Woodruff
The FNArena database tabulates the views of seven major Australian and international stock brokers: Citi, Credit Suisse, 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 August 10 to Friday August 14, 2020
Total Upgrades: 12
Total Downgrades: 10
Net Ratings Breakdown: Buy 48.48%; Hold 40.03%; Sell 11.49%
For the week ending Friday 14th of August, the second week of the August reporting season, downgrades and upgrades were fairly evenly matched for stockbroking analysts’ company ratings on individual ASX-listed stocks. Of the ten downgrades, three moved to a direct Sell including Charter Hall Retail REIT due to falling occupancy and softening leasing spreads, Wisetech Global from a combination of macroeconomic conditions and a slowing in acquisitions, and Mineral Resources, as the broker believes valuation has not kept up with the share price.
Twelve companies received upgrades and seven went to a Buy recommendation. The only company to receive two upgrades was Sydney Airport (to a Neutral from Sell), after launching a capital raise. Another travel-related upgrade was Serko (to a Buy from Neutral). Though it is too early to be adamant, these upgrades may point to a wider view by analysts across the travel sector that after making post-result negative earnings adjustments, some travel companies may be approaching a nadir.
Those adjustments are clearly highlighted in the table showing negative updates to earnings estimates, in which three of the top four percentage downgrades were Serko, Sydney Airport and Flight Centre. Understandably, the official line from analysts is that many uncertainties remain. The top three positive updates to earnings estimates were Insurance Australia Group, News Corp and Downer EDI. Of the three, only News Corp had a slight beat to earnings, while analysts are attempting to discern the effect of Downer EDI allocating capital toward more profitable segments of the business.
Enjoying the biggest percentage change to price targets for the week were Breville Group and Treasury Wine Estates. This may be described as catch-up by certain brokers as both reported in-line profit results. More representative of reporting-season effects were AGL Energy and Telstra. They came first and second on the table for the largest percentage target price decrease, after both reporting a ‘miss’ on net profit guidance for FY21.
Total Neutral/Hold recommendations take up 48.48% of the total, versus 40.03% on Neutral/Hold, while Sell ratings account for the remaining 11.49%.
AGL ENERGY LIMITED ((AGL)) Upgrade to Accumulate from Hold by Ord Minnett .B/H/S: 1/3/3
Underlying net profit in FY20 was below Ord Minnett's forecasts. The result was affected by weaker commodity prices and driven by lower wholesale electricity prices. Net profit guidance for FY21 of $560-660m implies earnings are likely to decline further.
Despite management's warnings that market headwinds are intensifying, Ord Minnett believes there are now reasons to own the stock predicated on the unsustainable nature of current commodity prices and a recovery in wholesale electricity as a positive catalyst.
The broker estimates FY21 dividends could result in yields up to 6-7%. Rating is upgraded to Accumulate from Hold and the target is reduced to $17.30 from $18.40.
AMP LIMITED ((AMP)) Upgrade to Neutral from Sell by Citi .B/H/S: 1/5/1
While the proposed capital return of $544m will likely be welcomed, Citi points out up to $200m of this is in the form of a buyback over 12 months and, therefore, not necessarily a done deal.
The broker makes compositional changes to forecasts to allow for a higher second half compared with the first half and the buy-out of the minority stake in AMP Capital.
Although the short-term outlook is challenging, because of the special dividend, Citi lifts its rating to Neutral/High Risk from Sell/High Risk. Target is steady at $1.45.
CHALLENGER LIMITED ((CGF)) Upgrade to Outperform from Neutral by Macquarie .B/H/S: 1/6/0
The FY21 normalised profit (NPBT) of $390m-$440m for Challenger missed consensus guidance of the broking community by around -7%, says Macquarie.
The analyst notes Life book growth of 2.1% was achieved, with a 2H20 new business tenor of around 10.7 years, versus 9.1 years in 1H20.
No final dividend was declared.
Macquarie likes the long-term growth thematic and considers valuation has become attractive.
Following recent stock price pressures, Macquarie upgrades to an Outperform rating from Neutral. The price target is increased to $4.50 from $4.40.
DOWNER EDI LIMITED ((DOW)) Upgrade to Buy from Neutral by Citi .B/H/S: 2/3/0
Citi suggests Downer EDI should re-rate with an outlook for stronger and more resilient earnings and a stronger balance sheet after the recent capital raising.
Resilient second half revenues were a standout feature of the FY20 result for the broker. The analyst upgrades FY21 profit (NPATA) estimates by 29%, revenue by 10% and EBITA margins by around 40 basis points.
The rating is upgraded to Buy from Neutral. The target price is increased to $5.32 from $4.65.
JB HI-FI LIMITED ((JBH)) Upgrade to Neutral from Underperform by Credit Suisse .B/H/S: 0/7/0
Government support measures, particularly superannuation withdrawals, have led to a near term bubble in household goods spending, suggest the analysts, leading Credit Suisse to upgrade its forecasts for JB Hi-Fi till the first half FY21.
The broker expects JB Hi-Fi’s net profit for FY20 to be $325m. The company will report its FY20 results on August 17.
Credit Suisse upgrades its rating to Neutral from Underperform with the target price increasing to $42.71 from $34.52.
METCASH LIMITED ((MTS)) Upgrade to Buy from Neutral by Citi .B/H/S: 4/2/0
Trading conditions for the grocery businesses in general remain buoyant and the analysts have penciled in higher than usual growth numbers for the six months ahead.
Apart from elevated sales growth, Citi cites rational market conditions and earnings/dividend stability which all justify an overweight portfolio position towards the main industry stalwarts in Australia.
Metcash has been upgraded to Buy from Neutral, with a price target of $3.50.
NAVIGATOR GLOBAL INVESTMENTS LIMITED ((NGI)) Upgrade to Buy from Hold by Ord Minnett .B/H/S: 2/0/0
Ord Minnett upgrades to Buy from Hold as, while FY20 results were slightly below expectations, the company's new partnership with Dyal Capital offers a compelling economic and strategic opportunity.
The broker considers the stock cheap, noting an FY21 cash/PE ratio of 10x and dividend yield of around 7.2%, and this is ahead of the contribution from the new partnership. Target is raised to $2.30 from $1.40.
SEEK LIMITED ((SEK)) Upgrade to Hold from Reduce by Morgans .B/H/S: 3/3/0
Seek has reported results in-line with guidance given in late June. However, the indicative earnings potential (not outlook) was below market expectations, according to Morgans.
The broker shows that the second half bore the full force of covid-19 lockdowns, but since April/May there has been a steady improvement in volumes and the company continues to invest regardless.
The large end markets that the company is attempting to dominate appeal to Morgans, but the broker awaits more concrete evidence on the return profile on these investments and acceleration of core business earnings.
The rating is upgraded to Hold from Reduce. The target price is increased to $17.90 from $15.55.
See also SEK downgrade.
SERKO LIMITED ((SKO)) Upgrade to Buy from Hold by Ord Minnett .B/H/S: 3/0/0
Ord Minnett suspects the market may be overlooking the technology growth story the company presents.
Serko has a dominant online booking tool in the Australasian corporate travel segment and the deal with Booking.com announced in October 2019 has potential to transform the business.
Ord Minnett upgrades to Buy from Hold and raises the target to $5.51 from $3.70, expecting the stock to outperform once concerns over the pandemic ease.
SYDNEY AIRPORT HOLDINGS LIMITED ((SYD)) Upgrade to Neutral from Sell by Citi and Upgrade to Hold from Lighten by Ord Minnett .B/H/S: 3/3/1
The company has announced a $2bn equity issue. This did not surprise Citi, having flagged the risk of a capital raising for some time.
The broker also believes potential credit rating pressure could have played a part in management's decision, as ratings agencies put the company on negative watch.
First half results, meanwhile, missed estimates at the EBITDA line, affected by abatements for retail property tenants.
Citi upgrades to Neutral from Sell, believing the capital raising could relieve much of the pressure on credit metrics and lead to a reversal of near-term underperformance.
However, the uncertainties prevent the broker from becoming more positive. Target is reduced to $5.61 from $5.87.
Ord Minnett upgrades to Hold from Lighten and reduces the target to $5.00 from $5.10. Sydney Airport reported a first half net loss of -$53m, much weaker than expected.
Ord Minnett believes the business is a high-quality infrastructure asset that will recover albeit facing severe headwinds to revenue while travel restrictions are in place.
The capital raising should ensure debt covenants are not breached, but the broker awaits a turnaround in passenger numbers and earnings before becoming more positive.
TREASURY WINE ESTATES LIMITED ((TWE)) Upgrade to Outperform from Neutral by Macquarie .B/H/S: 2/4/0
Treasury Wine Estates released FY20 results in-line with its pre-announcement, but flagged cost outs and signs of improving volumes in China, leading Macquarie to upgrade its rating to Outperform.
The new strategic agenda outlines plans for a further -$50m of cost savings on top of the -35m cost out program already announced, notes the broker.
The analyst materially lifts the target price on an improved medium-term growth outlook and lowered risk premium on Chinese business as volumes recover.
The rating is upgraded to Outperform from Neutral. The target price is increased to $14.90 from $11.50.
BREVILLE GROUP LIMITED ((BRG)) Downgrade to Neutral from Outperform by Credit Suisse .B/H/S: 3/3/0
Credit Suisse remains positive about the long-term growth prospects but the share price has appreciated over 160% since March. Therefore, this is considered a good opportunity to take a breather and the broker downgrades to Neutral from Outperform.
The target is raised to $26.81 from $20.27. Market trends provide confidence with respect to the performance in May and June and forecasts are upgraded accordingly.
Medium term forecasts are also upgraded based on the coffee category continuing to drive overall growth in the small home appliances industry. Breville will report its results on August 13.
CHARTER HALL LONG WALE REIT ((CLW)) Downgrade to Hold from Accumulate by Ord Minnett .B/H/S: 2/2/0
FY20 results were broadly in line. The FY21 outlook for a distribution of no less than 29.1c is slightly weaker than expected but Ord Minnett considers it probable the company has adopted conservative assumptions and therefore some upside is likely for earnings.
While the stock remains attractive, the broker believes this has been priced into the shares and downgrades to Hold from Accumulate. Target is raised to $4.73 from $4.48.
CHARTER HALL RETAIL REIT ((CQR)) Downgrade to Sell from Neutral by Citi .B/H/S: 3/1/2
FY20 earnings beat estimates and Citi highlights the accounting approach to the impact of the pandemic is less conservative compared with peers.
The broker notes falling occupancy and softening leasing spreads signal landlords will increasingly have to reduce rents to maintain occupancy at high levels.
The broker estimates A-REIT earnings will settle -15-20% below FY20 levels, given the uncertainty.
Rating is downgraded to Sell from Neutral as the broker believes the results have left investors more focused on downside risks and questioning the underlying earnings outlook. Target is reduced to $2.86 from $2.99.
FLIGHT CENTRE LIMITED ((FLT)) Downgrade to Neutral from Buy by Citi .B/H/S: 4/2/0
Flight Centre anticipates a FY20 pre-tax loss in a range of -$475-525m. Citi downgrades to Neutral from Buy, raising the target to $13.50 from $12.50, given the uncertainty surrounding the resumption of global and domestic travel and the lack of catalysts outside of a successful vaccine.
Liquidity has improved and the monthly cash burn has reduced, although revenue is at just 7% of historical levels. Still, this likely rules out a second equity raising until early 2021, in the broker's view.
JAMES HARDIE INDUSTRIES N.V. ((JHX)) Downgrade to Neutral from Buy by Citi .B/H/S: 5/1/0
Citi further assesses that James Hardie is priced for perfection and downgrades to Neutral from Buy. Target is $33.10.
Underlying top-line momentum continues to accelerate and the earnings margin in North America in the second quarter is strong, comments the broker, helped by lower pulp/freight costs and better operating leverage.
MINERAL RESOURCES LIMITED ((MIN)) Downgrade to Lighten from Hold by Ord Minnett .B/H/S: 1/1/0
Ord Minnett upgrades its iron ore price forecasts by 19% for 2021 to US$100/t, and by 10% for 2022 to US$86/t.
Despite factoring in 45% increases to earnings estimates for Mineral Resources in FY21, the broker believes valuation has not kept up with the share price.
Rating is downgraded to Lighten from Hold. Target is raised to $21.40 from $18.80.
REA GROUP LIMITED ((REA)) Downgrade to Hold from Accumulate by Ord Minnett .B/H/S: 1/5/0
Ord Minnett considers the outlook is positive, amid lower interest rates, lifestyle changes, stamp duty relief and well capitalised first time buyers clearing the supply chain and creating confidence for vendors.
The broker expects listings growth should begin again in the fourth quarter of 2020 and accelerate through 2021, primarily as mortgage holidays and lockdowns expire.
Still, a lack of valuation support leads the broker to downgrade to Hold from Accumulate. Target is raised to $104 from $100.
SEEK LIMITED ((SEK)) Downgrade to Hold from Accumulate by Ord Minnett .B/H/S: 3/3/0
Seek’s FY20 operating income was $414.9m versus $455m in FY19. Management expects the net profit in FY21 to be $20m, or $330m in EBITDA. This has led to Ord Minnett lowering its operating income estimate by -25.8% for FY21.
While management has an impressive track record of high returns on investment, the broker prefers to wait for a clearer picture of the impact of lockdowns on the employment market.
The broker is upbeat on China from FY22 onwards and believes the company’s recovery will be led by its Zhaopin division. Operating income forecasts reduced for FY21-22.
On account of lower estimates, Ord Minnett downgrades its recommendation to Hold from Accumulate with the target price decreasing to $20.15 from $24.
See also SEK upgrade.
TELSTRA CORPORATION LIMITED ((TLS)) Downgrade to Hold from Add by Morgans .B/H/S: 4/1/1
Morgans states the FY20 result for Telstra was in-line with guidance, but the FY21 guidance was below the broker's and consensus forecasts and was negatively impacted by the ongoing challenges of covid-19. This was due to reduced international travel and some short-term timing delays in relation to cost saving, notes the analyst.
The company declared a final dividend of 8 cents, bringing the FY20 total to 16 cents, however, the analyst explains after FY23 the NBN one-offs effectively disappear and there will no longer be support from special dividends.
The company reduced its FY23 return on capital target to greater than 7% from 10%, which has implications for both EPS and DPS sustainability, warns the broker.
Morgans materially reduces forecasts for EPS and DPS and expects the company to declare a 12 cent fully franked dividend in FY21 and beyond.
The rating has declined to Hold from Add. The target price is decreased to $3.21 from $3.73.
WISETECH GLOBAL LIMITED ((WTC)) Downgrade to Sell from Neutral by Citi .B/H/S: 2/1/1
Citi lowers FY20-22 net profit forecasts by -2-27% and downgrades to Sell from Neutral. Target is reduced to $18.40 from $22.60.
While there is plenty to like about the stock, given a strong balance sheet and the market-leading Cargowise One platform, the broker envisages downside risk to consensus forecasts because of a combination of macroeconomic conditions and a slowing in acquisitions.
While the change in M&A strategy is positive over the medium term, Citi considers this negative for revenue growth in the short term.
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
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For more info SHARE ANALYSIS: AGL - AGL ENERGY LIMITED
For more info SHARE ANALYSIS: AMP - AMP LIMITED
For more info SHARE ANALYSIS: BRG - BREVILLE GROUP LIMITED
For more info SHARE ANALYSIS: CGF - CHALLENGER LIMITED
For more info SHARE ANALYSIS: CLW - CHARTER HALL LONG WALE REIT
For more info SHARE ANALYSIS: CQR - CHARTER HALL RETAIL REIT
For more info SHARE ANALYSIS: DOW - DOWNER EDI LIMITED
For more info SHARE ANALYSIS: FLT - FLIGHT CENTRE TRAVEL GROUP LIMITED
For more info SHARE ANALYSIS: JBH - JB HI-FI LIMITED
For more info SHARE ANALYSIS: JHX - JAMES HARDIE INDUSTRIES PLC
For more info SHARE ANALYSIS: MIN - MINERAL RESOURCES LIMITED
For more info SHARE ANALYSIS: MTS - METCASH LIMITED
For more info SHARE ANALYSIS: NGI - NAVIGATOR GLOBAL INVESTMENTS LIMITED
For more info SHARE ANALYSIS: REA - REA GROUP LIMITED
For more info SHARE ANALYSIS: SEK - SEEK LIMITED
For more info SHARE ANALYSIS: SKO - SERKO LIMITED
For more info SHARE ANALYSIS: SYD - SYDNEY AIRPORT
For more info SHARE ANALYSIS: TLS - TELSTRA CORPORATION LIMITED
For more info SHARE ANALYSIS: TWE - TREASURY WINE ESTATES LIMITED
For more info SHARE ANALYSIS: WTC - WISETECH GLOBAL LIMITED