This series, brought to you by Yahoo! Finance, looks at which upgrades and downgrades make sense, and which ones investors should act on. Today, our headlines include upgrades for online treasure-hunt engine eBay Inc (NASDAQ:EBAY) and underground gold miner Yamana Gold Inc. (USA) (NYSE:AUY) alike. But it’s not all good news, so let’s start off with a look at why one analyst thinks …
Cracker Barrel is a crumb-y stock
Shares of old-timey Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Inc. (NASDAQ:CBRL)s have been on a tear, gaining more than 41% over the past 52 weeks. But over at analyst house Miller Tabak, people are thinking this restaurateur’s run is done. Miller cut its rating on the stock from “buy” to “hold” this morning, assigning a 12-month price target of $81 to a stock that costs nearly that much already.
And they were right to do so.
Priced at nearly 17 times earnings after its run-up, Cracker Barrel shares now look overpriced relative to consensus expectations for 10% annual earnings growth over the next five years. Granted, the company boasts strong free cash flow from its business — $115 million versus $112 million in reported earnings. Granted, too, Cracker Barrel pays a generous 2.5% annual dividend and might be worth holding onto for that yield alone. But as far as buying more shares goes, though, the stock just plain costs too much.
eBay shares — now with free shipping!
Looking for a better bargain? Investment banker Cantor Fitzgerald thinks it’s found one in the shares of online marketplace eBay. Up 34% over the past year, eBay Inc (NASDAQ:EBAY) shares are nonetheless down 13% from their February highs, as Cantor points out. With “strong” fundamentals, “modest” margins improvement, and moves to expand the market in point-of-sale and mobile payments at PayPal, Cantor sees eBay becoming a $56 stock and recommends buying it.
While eBay has a lot to recommend it — strong free cash flow and a rock-solid balance sheet boasting $4.9 billion in cash net of debt, to name two items — the stock looks pricey at 26 times earnings and only 15% growth. Cantor’s promise of a 10% one-year profit on the stock simply doesn’t look rich enough to entice investors to buy this one. Not with the shares so obviously overvalued already, and so vulnerable to a pullback.