Analyst Rating Roundup: ESE, ITRI, ELON, ESLR, SOLF

Several analyst rating changes to tell you about this morning.  Hat tip to Street Insider for the analyst commentary.

Needham & Company reiterated a Buy on Echelon Corp (ELON), but lowered the price target from $11 to $10.
“While uncertainty remains on the pace of uptake at utilities exploring AMI solutions as well as at current customers such as Duke, we continue to believe that Echelon has a solid technology offering that not only addresses the basics of a smart meter network but also some of the broader tenets of a smart grid infrastructure…Our September forecast becomes $26M in revs. and loss of $0.21 (or, ~$0.13 ex. opt.), vs. our prior $30.5M and a loss of $0.19 (or, $0.10 ex. options). Our 2010 estimate lowered to $108M and a loss of $0.73 (or, $0.41 ex. options), vs. prior $116M & loss of $0.76.” Shares of ELON are up about 5% today and clearing important resistance of the 50 day moving average.

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

Needham & Company reiterates a Buy on ESCO Technologies (ESE), but lowers the price from $42 to $39.
“ESCO continues to demonstrate solid operational execution, and we remain positive on the improving growth prospects following another quarter of solid bookings and backlog, the company’s recent win at SoCal Gas, and a generally recovering environment that should support at least moderate growth (in non-USG related business) in F11

Canaccord Genuity maintains a Hold on ESCO Technologies (ESE), but raises the price target to $35.
“Off a good quarter and the big apparent win at SoCal Gas, we continue to find risk/reward more balanced at current levels, as ESCO works to more fully penetrate the Smart Grid space. That said, we increase our estimates and price target for the recent momentum and execution…Our F2010 GAAP estimates adjust to $593.6M/$1.64 from $584.0M/$1.55. Our F2011 GAAP estimates reset to $625.0M/$1.95 from $615.0M/$1.80.” Shares of ESE are surging another 10% today with heavy volume and clearing resistance of the 200 day moving average.

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

Cantor Fitzgerald initiated coverage on Itron (ITRI) with a Buy rating and $84.00 price target.
“We estimate that Itron’s core meter business has a unit growth rate of approximately 5.8%, assuming the company maintains market share. Adjusting for currency fluctuations, and price competition, we expect this business to be flat over the next couple of years.  Thus, an investment in Itron is essentially a play on the growth of the AMI market and Itron’s ability to capture market share. The AMI market is forecast to show a 46% CAGR over the next several years and Itron has already won four major contracts for approximately 14 million meters.”  Shares of ITRI are holding steady again today.

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

Canaccord Genuity maintained its Buy rating on Solarfun Power (SOLF) and raised the  price target to $15.
“We maintain our rating on SOLF shares following a very strong beat-and-raise Q2, and we carry increased confidence in the company’s longer-term prospects through the entry of a strategic investor and continued technical and operational progress.”  Shares of SOLF are trading flat today and may be prone to short term weakness following yesterday’s reversal.  However, more of a pull back may offer a nice entry point in a company hitting on all cylinders.

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

Citi maintains a Sell rating on Evergreen Solar (ESLR) and slashes the price target from a buck to just .40. 
“Customers like the product, ESLR has shored up its liquidity needs through 2011 (based on our model), and we can finally envision the day it is what it should have been all along “a merchant wafer company”. Ultimately, if it can make wafers for ~$0.25/W (as it claims) there is a future for this company and it would seem an acquisition candidate if it can prove the cost goal. However, this still seems at least 18-24months away…Because of negative earnings through 2012, our new target is based on ~1x our estimate of tangible book at YE2011 adjusted for a potential PPE writedown.”

===> Click Here For Your FREE Evergreen Solar Technical Analysis

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