Here are the biggest analyst calls of the day: Altria, Wendy’s, Dollar General & more

Patrick T. Fallon | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Here are the biggest calls on Wall Street on Tuesday:

Bernstein downgraded Dollar General to ‘market perform’ from ‘outperform’

Bernstein said it sees sales and earnings growth as “less certain” than the past.

“The most obvious reason to stay bullish is DG‘s defensive nature. In a recession, they should do well and hold up when the market collapses. But, we have been terrible at market level calls having been bearish before bearishness was cool. Thus, we cannot in good conscience advocate buying or adding to DG at this level. We do understand and advocate holding DG through any downcycle, but we think a better choice for defensiveness is DLTR.”

Guggenheim downgraded Wendy’s to ‘neutral’ from ‘buy’

Guggenheim said the company’s entrance into breakfast is a “potentially risky” way to add topline growth.

“Our investment outlook is reduced as we see the announcement to enter breakfast as adding risk to shares and diluting the NT free cash flow generation. Management reduced 2019’s outlook to account for a $20mm upfront investment relating to launching breakfast across the U.S. system in 2020. While it could lead to longer term system sales, we view the day-part expansion as a sign of slowing NT momentum in the core lunch and dinner business. WEN shares reached our $22 price target based on our prior higher earnings estimates, as such we are removing our target.”

Piper Jaffray downgraded Altria to ‘neutral’ from ‘overweight’

Piper said in its downgrade that it was concerned about a potential merger with Philip Morris International.

“We have less confidence in Altria‘s outlook following company discussions between Altria and PM of a potential merger of equals. We do not know the terms of a deal, if one happens, but any interest in a deal without a premium could suggest more stress on the underlying fundamentals and management’s outlook for the future than we had appreciated.”

Rosenblatt initiated Splunk as ‘buy’

Rosenblatt expects the company to show “faster” growth as more companies adopt the company’s “enterprise standard.”  Splunk produces software for searching, monitoring, and analyzing machine-generated big data.

“As the infrastructure and security software market becomes increasingly data-driven, we see accelerated adoption of SPLK’s data-driven platform within large organizations to better manage and secure increasingly complex hybrid IT environments with disparate technologies. We expect its large deal activity to show faster growth, as more organizations adopt SPLK as their enterprise standard. With the current investor sentiment more focused on SPLK‘s near-term cash flow generation, we believe this provides an opportunity for investors with a longer-term investment horizon to add a position on the next de facto enterprise standard in technology.”

UBS downgraded Wells Fargo to ‘neutral’ from ‘buy’

UBS said it still doesn’t see profitability improvement from the bank.

“The downgrade reflects three factors: 1) reductions to 2020E and 2021E EPS from lower net interest income estimates; 2) continued uncertainty about the timing and magnitude of efficiency improvements; and 3) valuation considerations after outperformance in recent months. With the estimate cuts, Wells Fargo now trades at 11.3x 20E earnings, premiums JPMorgan (10.8x), Bank of America (9.2x) and Citigroup (7.9x).These relative multiples are difficult to justify without clearer visibility on how WFC materially improves profitability from current levels.”

Citi added Verizon to the ‘positive catalyst’ watch list

Citi said it expected shares of Verizon to trade higher into the company’s next earnings report due to a low rate environment among other things.

“We see an opportunity for Verizon to exceed consensus C3Q estimates for revenue, even though the longer-term competitive risks in wireless seem to be on the upswing. Citi Take We are adding Verizon to Citi’s Positive Catalyst Watch list (30 days), as we expect VZ shares to trade higher heading into its C3Q earnings release with the potential to post better top-line growth & benefit from a low rate environment. We maintain our Neutral view on a 12-month basis given limited expected total return and rising longer-term risks for the wireless category.”

Read on The Source