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Today's top analyst calls - Sept 3: BAX HRC FBRX VIPS JOAN

BAXTER UPGRADED AFTER BUY: Barclays analyst Travis Steed upgraded Baxter International ($BAX) to Overweight from Equal Weight with a price target of $100, up from $93, after the company reached an agreement to acquire Hill-Rom ($HRC). The analyst is more confident in Baxter's revenue growth, margin expansion and potential earnings power with Hill-Rom than without. He now sees more upside risk to earnings estimates than downside risk. Hill-Rom "de-risks" the Baxter story and creates opportunity, says Steed, who sees 25% upside in the shares.

FORTE CUT TO SELL, TARGET SLASHED BY $100: Chardan analyst Keay Nakae double downgraded Forte Biosciences ($FBRX) to Sell from Buy with a price target of $4, down from $105, after the company announced that its Phase II trial of FB-401 failed to the meet primary endpoint in atopic dermatitis. Consequently, Forte is discontinuing the development of FB-401. As FB-401 was the company's only asset, Nakae expects management to "quickly take the necessary steps to reduce cash burn." The analyst believes that options going forward include utilizing the remaining cash to acquire a new early stage asset to develop, or becoming a shell that another private company can reverse into.

VIPSHOP CUT AT UBS: UBS analyst Jerry Liu downgraded Vipshop ($VIPS) to Neutral from Buy with a price target of $17, down from $33. The analyst expects the company's user and revenue growth to slow down to single digit for the next few quarters. Vipshop's Q3 revenue guidance of 5%-10% year-over-year growth disappointed compared to previous consensus estimates of low-teens, which cannot be fully explained by a tougher comparisons as the company benefitted from online shopping post Covid-19, Liu tells investors in a research note. The analyst believes increasing competition from e-commerce live streaming is "an issue" and could limit Vipshop's long term growth.

JOANN DOWNGRADED AT TELSEY: Telsey Advisory analyst Cristina Fernandez downgraded Joann ($JOAN) to Market Perform from Outperform with a price target of $14, down from $18, post the company's Q2 results. The analyst sees limited visibility into the normalized demand level for arts and crafts following a weaker than expected down 29.9% comp in the quarter. Further, with ocean transport rates increasing in recent months, Joann is paying freight rates that are four-times the normal rate to bring inventory in on time for key selling periods, Fernandez tells investors in a research note. Supply chain costs are likely to remain elevated in 2022, pressuring Joann's earnings and likely keeping the shares range bound, says the analyst.

Disclosure: I may trade in the ticker symbols mentioned, both long or short. My articles represent my personal opinion and analysis and should not be taken as investment advice. Readers should do their own research before making decisions to buy or sell securities. Trading and investing include risks, including loss of principal.

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