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Today's top analyst calls - July 20: IBM GKOS NET VLDR SPG

'MODEST' REVENUE GROWTH: Societe Generale analyst Richard Nguyen upgraded IBM ($IBM) to Hold from Sell with a price target of $140, up from $121. The company could return to "modest" revenue growth, driven by a more active acquisition policy and a better mainframe cycle in 2022, Nguyen told investors in a research note. Further, the analyst argued that IBM's hybrid cloud focus continues to be underpinned by Red Hat and its CloudPaks offerings.

ISTENT REIMBURSEMENT CUTS: Wells Fargo analyst Lawrence Biegelsen downgraded Glaukos ($GKOS) to Underweight from Equal Weight with a price target of $41, down from $100. The analyst sees downside risk to sales from the proposed reimbursement cuts to the company's iStent. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have issued the proposed outpatient prospective payment system for 2022, which includes the facility fees for the hospital outpatient and ambulatory surgery center settings. In the proposed rule, CMS lowered the facility fee in the ambulatory surgery center setting by 25% which was greater than expected, Biegelsen noted. This comes after the CMS cut the physician fee for the iStent by 90% in the proposed physician fee rule last week, the analyst added. He believes that if finalized, the proposed cuts are likely to have a "significant negative impact" on iStent sales.

MOVING TO THE SIDELINES: BTIG analyst Gray Powell downgraded Cloudflare ($NET) to Neutral from Buy. The analyst cited valuation as the stock has recently run past his $103 per share price target, even though he still sees the company as a "long-term growth story." Powell added that he is not finding much evidence of momentum for Cloudflare in the SASE space as he had hoped to see at this point when it launched Teams last year, warning that its potential for growth could moderate as comps get tougher over the next few quarters.

FURTHER UNCERTAINTY: Baird analyst Tristan Gerra downgraded Velodyne Lidar ($VLDR) to Neutral from Outperform with a price target of $10, down from $18. The CEO stepping down "casts further uncertainly" in the company's outlook after design win losses earlier in the year and "high-profile board/founder fight," Gerra told investors in a research note. Further, volume opportunities for lidars in the automotive space have transitioned from robotaxis to highway safety features, which requires different lidar technologies and where Velodyne is not currently well positioned, the analyst added.

BUY SIMON PROPERTY: Stifel analyst Simon Yarmak upgraded Simon Property ($SPG) to Buy from Hold with a price target of $132, up from $125. The recent pullback in the stock price has created an "attractive entry point," the analyst told investors in a research note. Yarmak added that along with a "well-covered" 4.8% recently-raised dividend, Simon Property stock provides a 17.5% potential total return over the next 12 months.

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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