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Today's top analyst calls - Sept 24: CRM ROKU CAKE PLAY GM NKE

SALESFORCE'S MULTI-YEAR EXPANSION: Piper Sandler analyst Brent Bracelin upgraded Salesforce ($CRM) to Overweight from Neutral with a price target of $365, up from $280. The analyst says in-person conversations with new leadership over the last two days give him confidence that Salesforce should see a "multi-year period of multiple and profit expansion tied to operating discipline and organic investments that can sustain growth." Despite the 7% rally after the fiscal 2023 guide up yesterday, Salesforce has an estimated 2023 enterprise value to sales ratio of 7.5 times versus Microsoft ($MSFT) at 9.3 times and Adobe ($ADBE) at 14 times, in part because it has emphasized growth over margins for the past decade, says the analyst. Bracelin believes the company's new team, new model, and new post-Covid reality point to a "structural change" that could result in a material boost to profits as it scales revenue to $50B-PLUS.

ROKU CUT AT WELLS FARGO: Wells Fargo analyst Steven Cahall downgraded Roku ($ROKU) to Equal Weight from Overweight with a price target of $350, down from $488. With ARPU expectations up 50% in 12 months, Cahall now sees less upside potential and feels shares are more fully valued, the analyst tells investors in a research note. While he likes the story, the stock's ability to outperform requires results that exceed already high expectations, Cahall adds.

CASUAL DINING: Jefferies analyst Andy Barish upgraded Cheesecake Factory ($CAKE) to Buy from Hold with a price target of $60, up from $55, and Dave & Buster's ($PLAY) to Buy from Hold with a price target of $56, up from $40. The analyst has turned "incrementally more positive" on the casual dining sector following the selloff in the space driven by delta variant and inflation concerns. Restaurants are showing signs of being more resilient than expected, with "less of a lowdown" than what investors may be pricing in, Barish tells investors in a research note. The analyst says valuations in the sector are "too attractive to ignore" at current share levels.

'POSITIVE CATALYST': Citi analyst Itay Michaeli believes General Motors' ($GM) investor day on October 6 and 7 has the potential to be a "significant positive catalyst" for the stock. The analyst sees a number of paths for GM to address key debates and "unlock trapped value." He believes headwinds from the recall and semi shortage are transitory and continues to see a path to an over $100 share price. Michaeli keeps a Buy rating on GM with a 12-month price target of $90.

'BULLISH DESPITE THE CUT': Morgan Stanley analyst Kimberly Greenberger lowered the firm's price target on Nike ($NKE) to $201 from $221 and keeps an Overweight rating on the shares after management cut FY22 guidance due to limited inventory availability caused by factory closures and shipping delays. Underlying demand for Nike products appears robust and she thinks the transitory headwinds should abate, so she remains "bullish despite the cut," Greenberger tells investors in a post-earnings research note.

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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