Las Vegas Sands Corp. ( (LVS)
BMO Capital Markets upgrades to outperform from market perform
BMO Capital Markets analyst Jeffrey Logsdon upgraded the shares on July 21 based on increased stabilization in the company's Las Vegas and Macau businesses and better liquidity prospects.
Logsdon said the company has adequate profitability and liquidity to avoid a covenant violation and better chances of securing additional capital. Logsdon also said the company would "recommence construction on certain delayed projects."
He raised a price target for the next nine to 15 months to $15 from $11.
Logsdon's 2009 profit estimate remained unchanged at a loss of 11 cents per share, but he raised his 2010 estimate to 23 cents per share from 19 cents.
Gilead Sciences Inc. ( (GILD)
Lazard Capital Markets reaffirms buy
Gilead Sciences Inc. is expected to report another quarter of revenue and profit growth on July 21, with key HIV treatments Atripla and Truvada again leading the way. The biotechnology company is scheduled to release second-quarter financial results after the market closes and Wall Street expects another strong round of results. On average, analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expect profit of 61 cents per share on revenue of $1.6 billion.
During the same period a year ago, the company earned 46 cents per share on revenue of $1.28 billion.
The key revenue driver is the once-daily, three-in-one HIV treatment Atripla. It is composed of Gilead's HIV treatments Viread and Emtriva, along with Bristol-Myers Squibb Co.'s Sustiva. Another key HIV treatment is Truvada, which is a combination of Viread and Emtriva.
Lazard Capital Markets analyst Joel Sendek, expects Gilead to top Wall Streets expectations, with potentially higher-than-expected Atripla sales. In a note to investors, he said sales from the drug could beat his estimate of $387 million, while Truvada sales could top his outlook for $291 million.
He reaffirmed a $56 price target.
Packaging Corp. of America ( (PKG)
International Paper ( (IP)
Deutsche Bank upgrades both to buy from hold
Deutsche Bank analyst Mark Wilde said on July 21 that recent events in the containerboard industry were developing better than he anticipated. He noted that while significant risks remain, it is clearer and clearer that the containerboard industry has managed itself in a fundamentally different fashion over the past year.
Wilde noted stabilized pricing and recovering volume trends; also, "Black liquor" credits are producing a larger-than-expected windfall for these firms. He raised his $14 price target on Packaging Corp. to $24, and his $16 target on IP to $24.