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Weekly Ratings, Targets, Forecast Changes – 11-09-20

Weekly Reports | Sep 14 2020

This story features APPEN LIMITED, and other companies. For more info SHARE ANALYSIS: APX

By Mark Woodruff

Guide:

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.

Summary

Period: Monday September 7 to Friday September 11, 2020
Total Upgrades: 16
Total Downgrades: 2
Net Ratings Breakdown: Buy 49.09%; Hold 40.00%; Sell 10.91%

The week ending Friday 11 September proved a positive one for stockbroking analysts’ company ratings on individual ASX-listed stocks. There were sixteen upgrades, of which twelve went to a direct Buy and only two downgrades, all to a direct Sell.

Most of the upgrades related to the mining sector. This mining bent was in evidence when reviewing the largest percentage change in earnings forecasts for the week. OZ Minerals had the largest change, driven by the company’s unique growth options and the bullish outlook for copper. There is no such optimism for the oil price. However, Oil Search is benefiting from downsizing its Alaskan Nanushuk oil development to phased self-funding. Third on the table for a percentage earnings increase is Fortescue Metals Group after brokers raised iron ore price forecasts.

Nearmap led percentage earnings downgrades for the week after announcing a capital raising. This will both support the balance sheet and allow the acceleration of growth plans in the US. Graincorp came second on the table for percentage downgrades. Brokers weighed up an increase to the winter crop forecast versus the insurance payout required by the company, as it attempts to smooth earnings in good years and bad.

Mineral Resources was in the leading bunch of target price upgrades from brokers, along with the aforementioned OZ Minerals. Mineral Resources gained favour due to the expectation of stronger steel production in China. As a result, expected future iron ore prices have been ratcheted up in the models used by analysts.

Blackmores suffered the only notable percentage downward adjustment to a target price, as outlook comments after the FY20 result were weaker than expected. Debate now centres on large variables including brand value and whether the company deserves a potential takeover premium. Additionally, Chinese distribution and regulatory shortcomings need to be addressed.

Total Neutral/Hold recommendations take up 49.09% of the total, versus 40% on Neutral/Hold, while Sell ratings account for the remaining 10.91%.
 

Upgrade

APPEN LIMITED ((APX)) Upgrade to Neutral from Underperform by Credit Suisse .B/H/S: 3/2/0

Credit Suisse has become more balanced in its view of the stock and upgrades to Neutral from Underperform. The rating change is more about the share price than any fundamental difference.

Valuation still appears stretched at 51x 2020 price/earnings, although the broker notes the industry structure remains healthy. Credit Suisse increases 2021 sales forecasts on higher productivity assumptions. Target is raised to $30 from $29.

At this stage, the broker believes guidance for 2020 is achievable and leaves its forecast for $125.5m in operating earnings unchanged.

BEACH ENERGY LIMITED ((BPT)) Upgrade to Outperform from Neutral by Macquarie .B/H/S: 4/2/0

With Beach Energy's share price down -15% since May, Macquarie notes the company has underperformed the energy sector on account of its reduced five-year free cash flow guidance.

The broker considers the Waitsia-North West Shelf contract win a positive surprise. Earnings forecasts for FY21-23 have been increased due to higher expected oil production and gas contract prices.

Macquarie has upgraded its rating to Outperform from Neutral with a target price of $1.70. 

FORTESCUE METALS GROUP LTD ((FMG)) Upgrade to Buy from Hold by Ord Minnett .B/H/S: 3/2/2

Ord Minnett expects 2021 iron ore price to increase to US$105/t from US$100/t due to higher China steel production estimates. This compels the broker to upgrade Fortescue Metals Group's rating to Buy from Hold with the target price increased to $20 from $18.80.

Iron ore price estimates for the group have been increased to US$51/t from US$48/t. The group offers a dividend yield of 9% over the next three years, according to the broker. 

See also FMG downgrade.

MAGELLAN FINANCIAL GROUP LIMITED ((MFG)) Upgrade to Outperform from Neutral by Credit Suisse .B/H/S: 1/4/2

Since the FY20 result Magellan Financial has dropped around -10%. Yet the infrastructure franchise has built a core offering which accounts for around half of its assets under management and Credit Suisse believes there is scope for a similar market in global equities.

The broker upgrades estimates by 1-2% to account for higher net flows and believes the company's products offer attractive characteristics that appeal to institutional investors and flows should remain robust.

Rating is upgraded to Outperform from Neutral and the target raised to $65 from $60.

MOUNT GIBSON IRON LIMITED ((MGX)) Upgrade to Buy from Neutral by Citi .B/H/S: 2/0/0

Citi expects a modest pullback in the iron ore price in the near-term but believes the price will be rangebound between US$100-US$120/t range for the rest of 2020. Iron ore price forecasts for 2021-23 have been lifted due to a more constructive Chinese steel demand outlook.

The broker notes pure-play iron ore names like Mount Gibson Iron will benefit the most from higher prices with near term earnings almost doubling.

Citi upgrades its rating to Buy from Neutral given the expectation of strong free cash flow generation at the new iron ore price deck. The target price rises to $1 from $0.75.

NEWCREST MINING LIMITED ((NCM)) Upgrade to Accumulate from Hold by Ord Minnett .B/H/S: 3/3/1

Ord Minnett is positive on the outlook for gold and maintains a US$2,000/oz gold price forecast for the December half.

However, a strengthening Australian dollar has been playing spoilsport, adds the broker, eroding margins and leading to near-term downgrades in earnings forecasts.

The broker has upgraded its rating for Newcrest Mining to Accumulate from Hold with the target price increasing to $35 from $34.

NUFARM LIMITED ((NUF)) Upgrade to Add from Reduce by Morgans .B/H/S: 5/2/0

Nufarm reports its FY20 result on September 23. The company has recently provided preliminary underlying earnings guidance of $290m-$300m for FY20, slightly below Morgans estimates.

However, the broker expects FY20 earnings to be the low point given improved seasonal conditions in Australia. Additionally, the company said FY20 will be the trough for the European business.

Given material share price weakness and a more attractive valuation, Morgans upgrades the rating to Add from Reduce and the target price is increased to $4.85 from $4.76.

NEXTDC LIMITED ((NXT)) Upgrade to Outperform from Neutral by Macquarie .B/H/S: 6/1/0

Macquarie upgrades its rating of NextDC from Neutral to Outperform, as the share price has retraced around -12% from recent highs.

The broker explains it is one of the few companies benefiting both short and long term from covid-19, as enterprises globally accelerate digital transformation plans.

The target price is unchanged at $12.30.

POINTSBET HOLDINGS LTD ((PBH)) Upgrade to Neutral from Underperform by Credit Suisse .B/H/S: 0/2/0

The company, in its deal with NBCUniversal, is now placed to be a national operator in the US sports betting and internet gaming industry. While the company will be paying for national advertising, Credit Suisse understands the deal allows for flexibility in terms of where the expenditure on marketing occurs.

The broker increases its US sports betting market share assumptions for PointsBet to 10% in states where it becomes operational. FY23 estimates are upgraded by 38% as costs are offset by increased revenue forecasts.

Rating is upgraded to Neutral from Underperform and the target lifted to $10.50 from $6.50.

RIO TINTO LIMITED ((RIO)) Upgrade to Buy from Neutral by Citi .B/H/S: 3/3/1

Citi expects a modest pullback in the iron ore price in the near-term but believes the price will be rangebound between US$100-US$120/t range for the rest of 2020. Iron ore price forecasts for 2021-23 have been lifted due to a more constructive Chinese steel demand outlook.

The broker forecasts Rio Tinto to have the highest absolute increase in earnings given the size of its iron ore footprint. Rio is Citi's preferred pick for iron ore exposure given a very under-geared balance sheet presenting an opportunity for higher dividends over the next 3 years.

Citi upgrades its rating to Buy from Neutral with the target price increasing to $115 from $100.

REGIS RESOURCES LIMITED ((RRL)) Upgrade to Hold from Sell by Ord Minnett .B/H/S: 2/4/1

Ord Minnett is positive on the outlook for gold and maintains a US$2,000/oz gold price forecast for the December half.

However, a strengthening Australian dollar has been playing spoilsport, adds the broker, eroding margins and leading to near-term downgrades in earnings forecasts. 

Regis Resources' rating has been upgraded to Hold from Sell with a target price of $4.80.

SARACEN MINERAL HOLDINGS LIMITED ((SAR)) Upgrade to Hold from Lighten by Ord Minnett .B/H/S: 1/3/1

Ord Minnett is positive on the outlook for gold and maintains a US$2,000/oz gold price forecast for the December half.

However, a strengthening Australian dollar has been playing spoilsport, adds the broker, eroding margins and leading to near-term downgrades in earnings forecasts. 

FY21 production guidance for Saracen Mineral Holdings has been downgraded led by the Super Pit JV. Ord Minnett upgrades its rating to Hold from Lighten with a target price of $4.70.

SIGMA HEALTHCARE LIMITED ((SIG)) Upgrade to Outperform from Neutral by Credit Suisse .B/H/S: 2/1/1

Sigma Healthcare's -8% fall in underlying earnings was a solid result under the circumstances, Credit Suisse suggests. No dividend was declared and no guidance offered.

The broker forecasts 21% compound earnings growth over FY20-23 driven by cost-outs, the full ramp-up of the Chemist Warehouse
contract and continued above-market growth in retail, aided by diminished regulatory headwinds. The end of the company's capex investment cycle leaves sufficient balance sheet capacity for growth.

Credit Suisse upgrades to Outperform from Neutral. Target rises to 70c from 64c.

SANTOS LIMITED ((STO)) Upgrade to Buy from Neutral by UBS .B/H/S: 6/1/0

UBS expects Santos to achieve its target free cash flow breakeven in 2020 which will help it reduce its gearing levels over FY20-22. The broker points out Santos has better access to existing infrastructure than its peers that will help it reduce its capex.

The company has three diversified growth projects that are near-term catalysts and provide Santos the best leverage to near-term growth, highlights the broker.

Considering Santos as its most preferred energy exposure stock, UBS upgrades its rating to Buy with the target price increasing to $6.50 from $6.

TECHNOLOGYONE LIMITED ((TNE)) Upgrade to Add from Hold by Morgans .B/H/S: 1/1/1

The FY20 result for TechnologyOne is due on November 24 and Morgans expects it to be in-line with guidance and to contain no major surprises.

The broker notes the share price has fallen around -20% in the last four months, despite nothing much changing for the business.

The analyst reiterates key strengths including a resilient business model, which comes from having long sales cycles and deeply embedded enterprise grade software. Additionally, the customer base is large, diversified and very well-funded.

Some concerns may have arisen over the company’s education vertical and weakness in international students. Morgans reminds investors that the company’s revenue stream is not linked to international students.

The rating is upgraded to Add from Hold and the target price is decreased to $8.76 from $9.16.

WOODSIDE PETROLEUM LIMITED ((WPL)) Upgrade to Add from Hold by Morgans .B/H/S: 5/2/0

Morgans views Woodside Petroleum’s share price as trading at a discount to the value of its existing operations. As a result the broker upgrades the rating to Add from Hold and maintains the target price of $23.40.

The pursuit of growth opportunities and maintenance of an elevated dividend payout ratio raises the spectre of the need for additional external capital, the broker acknowledges.

However, under various equity raise scenarios, Morgans shows the company’s value is more sensitive to an eventual recovery versus future dilution risk.

The analyst points out a key risk would be a more severe regional economic hit from covid-19, than currently assumed by the broker.

Downgrade

FORTESCUE METALS GROUP LTD ((FMG)) Downgrade to Underweight from Equal-weight by Morgan Stanley .B/H/S: 3/2/2

Morgan Stanley expects the iron ore market to be in surplus from the last quarter of 2020. However, the broker also expects stronger steel production in China and dismisses concerns about any buildup in China's port ore stocks. 

This also prompts Morgan Stanley to raise its fourth-quarter 2020 and 2021 iron ore price forecasts to US$100/t and US$81/t but long-term projections remain unchanged.

The broker notes some equity valuations are starting to look stretched like Fortescue Metals Group. This translates to a negative risk-reward skew, believes the broker, downgrading its rating to Underweight from Equal-weight.

The target price rises to $14.50 from $12.70. Industry view is Attractive.

See also FMG upgrade.

MINERAL RESOURCES LIMITED ((MIN)) Downgrade to Underweight from Equal-weight by Morgan Stanley .B/H/S: 1/0/1

Morgan Stanley expects the iron ore market to be in surplus from the last quarter of 2020. However, the broker also expects stronger steel production in China and dismisses concerns about any buildup in China's port ore stocks. 

This also prompts Morgan Stanley to raise its fourth-quarter 2020 and 2021 iron ore price forecasts to US$100/t and US$81/t but long-term projections remain unchanged.

The broker notes valuation for Mineral Resources is starting to look stretched. This translates to a negative risk-reward skew, believes the broker, downgrading its rating to Underweight from Equal-weight. 

The target price rises to $23.50 from $21. Industry view: Attractive.

Total Recommendations
Recommendation Changes

Broker Recommendation Breakup

Broker Rating

 

Order Company New Rating Old Rating Broker
Upgrade
1 APPEN LIMITED Neutral Sell Credit Suisse
2 BEACH ENERGY LIMITED Buy Neutral Macquarie
3 FORTESCUE METALS GROUP LTD Buy Neutral Ord Minnett
4 MAGELLAN FINANCIAL GROUP LIMITED Buy Neutral Credit Suisse
5 MOUNT GIBSON IRON LIMITED Buy Neutral Citi
6 NEWCREST MINING LIMITED Buy Neutral Ord Minnett
7 NEXTDC LIMITED Buy Neutral Macquarie
8 NUFARM LIMITED Buy Sell Morgans
9 POINTSBET HOLDINGS LTD Neutral Sell Credit Suisse
10 REGIS RESOURCES LIMITED Neutral Sell Ord Minnett
11 RIO TINTO LIMITED Buy Neutral Citi
12 SANTOS LIMITED Buy Neutral UBS
13 SARACEN MINERAL HOLDINGS LIMITED Neutral Sell Ord Minnett
14 SIGMA HEALTHCARE LIMITED Buy Neutral Credit Suisse
15 TECHNOLOGYONE LIMITED Buy Neutral Morgans
16 WOODSIDE PETROLEUM LIMITED Buy Neutral Morgans
Downgrade
17 FORTESCUE METALS GROUP LTD Sell Neutral Morgan Stanley
18 MINERAL RESOURCES LIMITED Sell Neutral Morgan Stanley

Recommendation

Positive Change Covered by > 2 Brokers

Order Symbol Company New Rating Previous Rating Change Recs
1 NUF NUFARM LIMITED 71.0% 43.0% 28.0% 7
2 TNE TECHNOLOGYONE LIMITED -13.0% -38.0% 25.0% 4
3 APX APPEN LIMITED 60.0% 40.0% 20.0% 5
4 BPT BEACH ENERGY LIMITED 58.0% 42.0% 16.0% 6
5 SHL SONIC HEALTHCARE LIMITED 29.0% 14.0% 15.0% 7
6 NXT NEXTDC LIMITED 79.0% 64.0% 15.0% 7
7 MFG MAGELLAN FINANCIAL GROUP LIMITED -14.0% -29.0% 15.0% 7
8 STO SANTOS LIMITED 79.0% 64.0% 15.0% 7
9 WPL WOODSIDE PETROLEUM LIMITED 71.0% 57.0% 14.0% 7
10 RIO RIO TINTO LIMITED 21.0% 7.0% 14.0% 7

Negative Change Covered by > 2 Brokers

Order Symbol Company New Rating Previous Rating Change Recs
1 MIN MINERAL RESOURCES LIMITED -17.0% 17.0% -34.0% 3
2 OZL OZ MINERALS LIMITED 21.0% 50.0% -29.0% 7
3 BKL BLACKMORES LIMITED -33.0% -17.0% -16.0% 6
4 NWL NETWEALTH GROUP LIMITED -33.0% -17.0% -16.0% 6
5 SGP STOCKLAND 8.0% 17.0% -9.0% 6

Target Price

Positive Change Covered by > 2 Brokers

Order Symbol Company New Target Previous Target Change Recs
1 NWL NETWEALTH GROUP LIMITED 10.715 10.073 6.37% 6
2 MIN MINERAL RESOURCES LIMITED 26.400 25.367 4.07% 3
3 OZL OZ MINERALS LIMITED 14.041 13.498 4.02% 7
4 ILU ILUKA RESOURCES LIMITED 9.940 9.690 2.58% 6
5 RIO RIO TINTO LIMITED 106.643 104.000 2.54% 7
6 STO SANTOS LIMITED 6.623 6.523 1.53% 7
7 SHL SONIC HEALTHCARE LIMITED 34.106 33.706 1.19% 7
8 MFG MAGELLAN FINANCIAL GROUP LIMITED 61.124 60.410 1.18% 7
9 TCL TRANSURBAN GROUP 14.281 14.197 0.59% 7
10 APX APPEN LIMITED 36.580 36.380 0.55% 5

Negative Change Covered by > 2 Brokers

Order Symbol Company New Target Previous Target Change Recs
1 BKL BLACKMORES LIMITED 67.375 70.592 -4.56% 6
2 WPL WOODSIDE PETROLEUM LIMITED 23.269 23.669 -1.69% 7
3 TNE TECHNOLOGYONE LIMITED 8.440 8.540 -1.17% 4
4 SGP STOCKLAND 3.913 3.930 -0.43% 6
5 BPT BEACH ENERGY LIMITED 1.902 1.910 -0.42% 6

Earning Forecast

Positive Change Covered by > 2 Brokers

Order Symbol Company New EF Previous EF Change Recs
1 OZL OZ MINERALS LIMITED 53.216 44.744 18.93% 7
2 OSH OIL SEARCH LIMITED 2.763 2.385 15.85% 7
3 FMG FORTESCUE METALS GROUP LTD 250.923 224.960 11.54% 7
4 SGM SIMS LIMITED 18.325 16.975 7.95% 6
5 BHP BHP GROUP 292.088 274.090 6.57% 7
6 STO SANTOS LIMITED 24.458 23.036 6.17% 7
7 WPL WOODSIDE PETROLEUM LIMITED 79.567 75.253 5.73% 7
8 BKL BLACKMORES LIMITED 175.580 166.800 5.26% 6
9 BSL BLUESCOPE STEEL LIMITED 49.373 47.290 4.40% 6
10 SHL SONIC HEALTHCARE LIMITED 147.271 141.414 4.14% 7

Negative Change Covered by > 2 Brokers

Order Symbol Company New EF Previous EF Change Recs
1 NEA NEARMAP LTD -3.433 -2.633 -30.38% 3
2 GNC GRAINCORP LIMITED 1.263 1.788 -29.36% 4
3 WSA WESTERN AREAS NL 6.190 6.840 -9.50% 6
4 NUF NUFARM LIMITED -8.857 -8.286 -6.89% 7
5 ILU ILUKA RESOURCES LIMITED 47.712 50.762 -6.01% 6
6 IDX INTEGRAL DIAGNOSTICS LIMITED 18.744 19.455 -3.65% 5
7 QUB QUBE HOLDINGS LIMITED 5.737 5.903 -2.81% 6
8 MIN MINERAL RESOURCES LIMITED 316.667 324.667 -2.46% 3
9 BXB BRAMBLES LIMITED 56.308 57.378 -1.86% 6
10 ORA ORORA LIMITED 15.026 15.311 -1.86% 7

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CHARTS

APX BPT FMG MFG MGX MIN NCM NUF NXT PBH RIO RRL SIG STO TNE WPL

For more info SHARE ANALYSIS: APX - APPEN LIMITED

For more info SHARE ANALYSIS: BPT - BEACH ENERGY LIMITED

For more info SHARE ANALYSIS: FMG - FORTESCUE METALS GROUP LIMITED

For more info SHARE ANALYSIS: MFG - MAGELLAN FINANCIAL GROUP LIMITED

For more info SHARE ANALYSIS: MGX - MOUNT GIBSON IRON LIMITED

For more info SHARE ANALYSIS: MIN - MINERAL RESOURCES LIMITED

For more info SHARE ANALYSIS: NCM - NEWCREST MINING LIMITED

For more info SHARE ANALYSIS: NUF - NUFARM LIMITED

For more info SHARE ANALYSIS: NXT - NEXTDC LIMITED

For more info SHARE ANALYSIS: PBH - POINTSBET HOLDINGS LIMITED

For more info SHARE ANALYSIS: RIO - RIO TINTO LIMITED

For more info SHARE ANALYSIS: RRL - REGIS RESOURCES LIMITED

For more info SHARE ANALYSIS: SIG - SIGMA HEALTHCARE LIMITED

For more info SHARE ANALYSIS: STO - SANTOS LIMITED

For more info SHARE ANALYSIS: TNE - TECHNOLOGY ONE LIMITED

For more info SHARE ANALYSIS: WPL - WOODSIDE PETROLEUM LIMITED