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Today's top analyst calls - Oct 14: W UPS T BBBY TJX

DECLINING NEAR-TERM SALES: Morgan Stanley analyst Simeon Gutman downgraded Wayfair ($W) to Underweight from Equal Weight with a price target of $195, down from $290. The analyst sees the possibility of home furnishings category declines in both 2022 and 2023 leading to declining near-term sales and negative profit implications for Wayfair. Further, inventory, supply chain and channel mix shift challenges as traffic moves back in-store from online could cause Wayfair to lose share in the category in the near- to medium-term, Gutman told investors in a research note. The analyst also argued that the company competes in a category with less of a replenishment cycle, "thus warranting a valuation discount."

'A LOT TO LIKE': Stifel analyst J. Bruce Chan upgraded UPS ($UPS) to Buy from Hold with a price target of $224, up from $210. There is "a lot to like about the fundamental UPS story right now," Chan told investors in a research note. Despite tough comps, e-commerce continues to drive secular volume growth in the company's core small package unit, and continued yield management focus "is a boon in an environment with ample near-term rate momentum," the analyst contended. He believes a "disciplined" capital allocation strategy has helped set UPS up to "deliver in an extremely tight operating environment."

ON THE SIDELINES: KeyBanc analyst Brandon Nispel upgraded AT&T ($T) to Sector Weight from Underweight without a price target. The analyst argued that it appears more difficult to justify further downside from current levels given simplification of the business, reduced leverage, and peers that trade at premiums. Nispel cautioned, however, that he does not recommend owning AT&T. While he sees modest downside, the analyst thinks further downside might support a more positive risk/reward.

CATEGORY DECLINES: Morgan Stanley analyst Simeon Gutman downgraded Bed Bath & Beyond ($BBBY) to Underweight from Equal Weight with a price target of $12, down from $18. The analyst believes the home furnishings category could decline in both 2022 and 2023. This "could be compounded by share loss" in line with Bed Bath & Beyond's history, Gutman told investors in a research note. As such, he now expects below consensus revenue in each of the next two years for the retailer, and sees "valuation downside in a negative comp backdrop."

RISE IN INFLATION, UNDER-STOCKED STORES: Loop Capital analyst Laura Champine downgraded TJX ($TJX) to Hold from Buy with a price target of $65, down from $80 as part of a broader research note on Diversified Retail. The analyst is adjusting her discounted cash flow model to reflect the rise in inflation and other risks to cost of capital, adding that she also sees under-stocked stores, particularly in seasonal and home goods. Champine further stated that she sees less luxury brand product than usual in stores, and all of the locations inspected also suggest that they seem "understaffed." Inventory and staffing levels will be even more important two months from now, while costs and supply chain issues are set to build rather than diminish, the analyst added.

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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