WedBush Upgrades Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY)

Retail’s revamped board of directors making effective changes. WedBush upgraded shares of Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY), from neutral to outperform. The research firm also upgraded its 12-month price target to $16 from $14. With shares trading around $10.50, that suggests at least 50 percent upside for shares of the big box retailer. The analysis justifying the upgrade cited improved governance following some changes among the board of directors, as well as guidance to streamline stores and make them less cluttered ahead of the holiday season. The upgrade comes ahead of earnings from the company on Wednesday, and that earnings may not ...
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Insider Activity: USA Technologies (USAT)

Major holder buys another 1.8 million shares. Hudson Executive Capital LP continues to buy massive blocks of shares at USA Technologies (USAT). Following a recent buy, the company picked up another 1.8 million shares on September 26th, increasing their stake by 21 percent. The fund paid $8.2 million for the block of shares, and now owns over 10.1 million shares of the company. With a float of only 37 million shares, Hudson now owns over 27 percent of shares outstanding. The fund may be vying to buy up 50 percent of the company to assume control, either to take the company private, ...
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Micron Upgraded After Earnings Report

Analysts see upside in spite of company’s lowered guidance. Although shares of Micron (MU) dropped nearly 11 percent following its most recent earnings report, many analysts were quick to point out the long-term potential in shares. Investment firm Needham reiterated its buy rating on shares following earnings, and raised the price target on shares from $50 to $60. At current prices, that implies a 33 percent upside for Micron shares in the coming months. Micron did beat earnings and revenue estimates when it reported, but the company gave lowered guidance as a result of NAND inventory and related pricing, leading to the market ...
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Guggenheim Partners Upgrades Western Union

  Electronic payments company seen as buy. Guggenheim Partners raised their rating on Western Union (WU) from neutral to buy, and set a price target of the company at $27. That is about a 20 percent increase from where shares recently trade. The upgrade comes after Western Union has partnered with Amazon to launch Amazon PayCode, allowing for shoppers to pay for online purchases at any of Western Union’s 15,000 locations, which is rolling out in the next few weeks ahead of the holiday season. Best known for being a telegram company, Western Union sent its last telegram in 2006 and pivoted to ...
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Unusual Options Activity: CenturyLink (CTL)

Traders bullish on telecom in coming weeks. The October 18th $13.50 call options on CenturyLink (CTL) saw nearly 4,000 contracts trade, against a prior open interest of 360, an 11-fold surge in volume. With shares at $12.75, the option will trade in-the-money if shares rise 5.8 percent in the next 18 days. Given how shares have traded as high as $22 in the past year, the option stands a reasonable chance of heading higher in the next few weeks. With shares of the company trading under 10 times earnings and yielding over 7.7 percent following a 40 percent decline in the past ...
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Insider Activity: Beacon Roofing Supply Inc. (BECN)

Major investor on verge of majority stake. CD&R Investment Associates picked up 3.2 million shares of Beacon Roofing Supply Inc. (BECN). The firm, already a major holder, increased their stake by 30 percent by making the buy. The total cost came out to just over $102 million, and leaves the fund with 13.7 million shares of the company. In the past year, CD&R has picked up over 28 million shares, and corporate insiders have also been net buyers, with only two small sales. Beacon Roofing distributes residential and commercial roofing materials through various suppliers, and also provides complimentary building products. The company ...
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Citi Research Upgrades AbbVie (ABBV)

Bank cites potential ahead of merger. Shares of AbbVie (ABBV) have struggled thanks to fears of increasing regulation in the pharmaceutical sector as well as the company’s announcement to buy competitor Allergan. While the potential merger still faces regulatory approval, Citi Research has upgraded shares of the company to buy from neutral, with a target price of $90. With shares just under $75, the price target gives shares a 20 percent potential upside, even before the merger is finalized. At the same time, the FDA approved an eight-week treatment cycle for the company’s Mavyret drug. AbbVie also develops and markets products ...
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JP Morgan Upgrades Whirlpool (WHR)

Bank cites modest growth, stable commodity pricing. Shares of Whirlpool (WHR) saw heavy trading following an upgrade by JP Morgan. The bank raised its rating on the appliance manufacturer to overweight from neutral. The bank sees sales at Whirlpool likely to stabilize this year, with modest growth for next year. One of the company’s biggest input costs, for steel, are likely to stay at or near current levels. The upgrade came after the company beat earnings and revenue expectations when it last reported earnings back in July. JP Morgan further cited the valuation of the company, indicating that shares trade at a ...
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