Analyst Rating Roundup: AMAT, WFR, ITRI, GPRE

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12:23:44 pm on August 3, 2010

A couple more firms have come out with notes on Itron (ITRI) after it was rumored that Siliver Springs Networks will win the BG&E deal, not Itron.  Hat tip to Street Insider for the analyst comments.

Wedbush is downgrading Itron from Outperform to Neutral and is also cutting the price target from $85 to $62.  “The loss of BG&E to SSN suggests continued headwinds for Itron’s backlog growth, lowers Itron’s general credibility with existing customers, and will likely draw a focus from investors… Without securing wins at long-term customers we believe Itron is likely to see a significant decline in backlog during 2011 from the incremental completion of major AMI projects, which would place the 2012 earnings outlook significantly at risk.”

Canaccord Genuity agree with yesterday’s comment out of Deutsche Bank and is reiterating its Buy rating and price target $80.
“While the news implying a Silver Spring Networks AMI selection at BG&E was disappointing to the Street, we do not see it as worthy of despair (or a change in our thesis), as very strong FCF visibility through 2011, a broad and international platform, and a culture of management competitiveness stay very much intact. We reiterate our rating as headline risk now lessens as Street qualitative expectations get re-set.”

===> Click Here For Your FREE Itron Technical Analysis

UBS downgraded Applied Materials (AMAT) from Buy to Neutral this morning and lowered their price target from $16 to $13.
The firm believes semicap industry orders peak in 1Q11 and may take more time to see significant results.

UPDATE – UBS downgrades Applied Materials (Nasdaq: AMAT) from Buy to Neutral.
UBS analyst says moving to sidelines as we estimate semicap industry orders peak in 1Q11; Increased focus on semicap may take time to see more significant results. Shares of AMAT are down nearly 3% today and closing in on important support in the $11.50 area. 

===> Click Here For Your FREE Applied Materials Technical Analysis

Soleil Securities is maintaining its Buy rating on MEMC Electroinic Materials (WFR) but lowering the price target from $21 to $18 citing weakness in the solar industry. Weakness in the solar industry?  I think the weakness is just in WFR!  FSLR beat estimates and the China solar names continues to do very well.  It will be very interesting to see how SPWRA reports in a few days.  Soleil reduces its FY10 EPS estimate from $0.70 to $0.40 per share and decreases its FY11 estimate from $1.40 to $1.26 per share. The Street is currently looking for FY10 and FY11 EPS of $0.57 and $1.09, respectively.

The firm says, “MEMC continues to execute very well in the semi-wafer business – it appears to have gained close to a full point of market share in Q2 and EBITDA margins improved an impressive 900 basis points. However, ongoing disappointments in the company’s solar businesses (solar-wafers and downstream installation) have more than offset the strong performance in semi-wafers.”  Shares of WFR have held steady after plunging following its poor earnings report, but it remains at all time lows and prone to further losses.

===> Click Here For Your FREE MEMC Electronic Materials Technical Analysis

Olympia Capital reiterated its Buy rating on Green Plains Renewable Energy (GPRE) despite lowering estimates.  “After taking a harder look at Green Plains second quarter specifically, and the ethanol business generally, Olympia Energy analyst Paul Resnik has taken a second look our investment thesis and has decided to lower estimates for the upcoming Q3 and Q4, bringing down the FY10 estimate as well.”

The best positive event taking place is the improvement in the ethanol crush spread. However, the widening in the crush spread is being constrained by the some of the negative realities mentioned above, so it’s too late for any positive impact from widening margins to help the Q3. That said, Paul reduces his GPRE Q3 estimate to $0.12 from $0.28; lower Q4 to $0.32 from $0.34; and lower FY10 to $1.27 from $1.45. They don’t bullish enough to have a Buy rating!

===> Click Here For Your FREE Green Plains Technical Analysis

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