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Today's top analyst calls - Sept 27: ABNB RIDE F ATUS AMZN NOW

FAIRLY VALUED: JPMorgan analyst Doug Anmuth initiated coverage of Airbnb ($ABNB) with a Neutral rating and $170 price target. The analyst believes Airbnb's community of individual hosts and "strong brand differentiate the company from its travel peers." The company is well positioned to benefit from underlying secular trends in travel but the stock is fairly valued at current levels, Anmuth contended.

SELL LORDSTOWN: Goldman Sachs analyst Mark Delaney downgraded Lordstown Motors ($RIDE) to Sell from Neutral with an unchanged price target of $5, representing 34% downside from current share levels. The price target reflects the "competitive albeit growing" market for electric vehicles as well as the operational challenges that Lordstown is facing, including ramping production while facing supply chain and cash flow constraints, Delaney told investors in a research note. The analyst pointed out that Ford ($F) is planning to bring out a battery electric vehicle F-150 in 2022 starting at $40,000 for fleets, compared to the Endurance pickup which Lordstown plans to price in the low $50,000 range. In addition, the current supply chain issues that the auto industry broadly is experiencing could complicate Lordstown's production ramp over the next year, Delaney added. He also noted that the competitive landscape and the company's operational challenges remain concerns for him.

STRATEGIC SHIFT: Credit Suisse analyst Douglas Mitchelson downgraded Altice USA ($ATUS) to Neutral from Outperform with a price target of $24, down from $46. Altice is now trading "well below its likely asset value" and management's pivot from focusing on margins and stock buybacks to a more aggressive fiber overbuild/edge out strategy could prove successful longer-term, Mitchelson told investors in a research note. However, the analyst acknowledged that he's been wrong on Altice's current broadband competitiveness and near-to-mid term growth outlook. He expects management's new investment strategy will "take at least several quarters, if not longer, to begin bearing fruit." Even at the risk of marking the bottom for Altice's stock, it is more appropriate to revisit Altice "when we develop greater confidence in the timing, execution and likely impact of the company's upcoming investment strategy," the analyst contended.

Meanwhile, Raymond James analyst Frank Louthan also downgraded Altice USA to Market Perform from Outperform following recent management commentary detailing broadband adds pressure and the strategic shift toward "heavier" investment and away from buybacks, which the analyst says were a key part of the value proposition for shareholders. Management indicated during a recent presentation that they are not seeing the same traction with internet net additions that typically accompanies the start of the school year, Louthan noted. The analyst believes the broadband and mobility weakness combined with a de-emphasis on buybacks could pressure the shares for the next several quarters.

RISING WAGE PRESSURE: Morgan Stanley analyst Brian Nowak lowered the firm's price target on Amazon ($AMZN) to $4,100 from $4,300, while keeping an Overweight rating on the shares. The analyst's analysis of Amazon's 700,000 person U.S. logistics workforce and rising wages "reveals more profit pressure ahead." As such, he lowered his 2021 and 2022 EBIT estimates by 16% and 19%, respectively. Amazon shares may be range-bound until its revenue can reaccelerate in the first half of 2022, Nowak told investors in a research note. He sees the company's logistics headcount cost per unit rising 50% year-over-year in 2021.

HIGH GROWTH: Summit Insights analyst Srini Nandury assumed coverage of ServiceNow ($NOW) with a Buy rating and $750 price target. The analyst believes ServiceNow deserves a premium multiple given its prospects for "continued high growth driven by secular growth trends, potential margin expansion, industry leadership, and a deep moat."

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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