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Four Analyst Calls That Are Moving Stocks on Wednesday: Groupon Inc (GRPN)

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GrouponSometimes an analyst issues a revised outlook or changes his/her rating, but does not inform investors of the reasons behind the call. These typically move stocks on the call alone; the price target and outlook. However, some analysts provide detailed reasons; these are the outlooks that should be noted and used as part of your fundamental research. Therefore, I am taking a look at such outlooks and determining the best way to utilize the information.

Company Ticker Firm Call
Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) JPMorgan Overweight
Groupon (NASDAQ:GRPN) Sterne Agee Buy
Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI) CLSA Underperform
Cliffs Natural Resources (NYSE:CLF) Deutsche Bank Hold

Upgrades

Netflix traded higher in the early session by more than 2% after JPMorgan increased its price target from $180 to $206. The firm believes that although earnings have grown, the stock is running on momentum from much of its recent rally. Therefore, the call is more of a technical call. I tend to agree with the firm, as there are many on Wall Street who are reminiscing of times of the past, when the stock was at $300. Netflix is a different company but has managed to change the perception of the market, and for that fact it could rally higher.

Shares of Groupon rallied higher by more than 7% in early trading after Sterne Agee upgraded the stock to Buy. The firm issued one statement in particular that was very bold and to-the-point: “We have greater conviction in the company’s ability to evolve beyond its current business.”

Now, where the “greater conviction” comes from is anyone’s guess. But also noted was the company’s decision to focus on physical locations for the “Groupon experience.” The stock has now rallied to a large degree with other social media stocks, and as I’ve discussed on several occasions, it is among the cheapest in the space. With that being said, I am not sure that I would buy at these levels because of the sustainability issues that exist, but I do acknowledge the points made by the analyst.

Downgrades

Darden Restaurants is lower by more than 2% in early session trading after CLSA initiated coverage with a bearish call. The firm notes that its channel checks indicate subdued traffic at best, and that the company’s promises to be more promotional have failed. This is a stock that has greatly underperformed the market over the last three months as fears regarding a slowed business are taking fundamental form. Therefore, I agree that there may be better places to invest your money.

Deutsche Bank downgraded shares of Cliffs Natural Resources from a Buy to a Hold after the company reported earnings on Tuesday after the market closed. The firm has remained one of the more bullish even as the stock has declined 50% over the last year. The stock is now trading lower by 17% in the early session and the analyst questions the timing of the company’s share issuance after a major dividend cut. The firm finds it worrisome on behalf of management seeing as how the public is expecting cash flow in 2013 to increase.

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