8:19am 07/08/05 NEW YORK (MarketWatch) -- Wild Oats Markets (OATS) was upgraded to outperform from sector perform at RBC Capital Markets, citing evidence that same-store sales were accelerating faster than expected. Analyst Edward Aaron also raised his 12-month stock price target to $15 from $11, his 2005 earnings estimate to 3 cents a share from breakeven and his 2006 forecast to 30 cents a share from 15 cents. He believes second-quarter same-store sales growth could top forecasts of 3% to 4%. The stock closed Thursday down 3 cents at $11.57.Boyent
Wild Oats was raised to outperform from sector perform? Does this analyst really think OATS is going to outperform their sector- a sector with Whole Foods in it? Does he think that a total upside profit of 3 cents a share for the year justifies this kind of upgrade? Oats is currently selling a P/E in the 400's by my calculations, even if they make the 3 cents per share- which is a long shot by the companies own admission. They have a lot of debt, not a lot of cash, and they have the lowest margins in the industry. They are closing stores and two stores where I live don't even make enough profit to pay their local rent after all is said and done (I was told this by two Wild Oats store managers). Wild Oats is losing market share. They are getting squeezed at the top by a much superior Whole Foods and kicked around at the bottom by Wal-mart, Costco, and Target. Plus, now comes Sunflower- a chain started by the original owners who grew Wild Oats initially. I would be interested to find out if Mr. Edward Aaron the esteemed analyst from RBC Capital Markets- the guy who upgraded the stock, has his own money invested in Wild Oats? Or does he merely recommend it to his customers so that he can sell them something and earn his commissions to pay for the crack he must be smokin'!!!Dana- who is not a stock market analyst with RBC Capital Markets, but once got a scratch and sniff sticker for sitting really still in Mrs. Olsen's first grade class.
Dana (yodalives)You provide relevant insights, especially about the rubber rent checks at particular stores, didn't know about that one. The OATS store near me does well and the employees seem upbeat on the company's prospects. I do agree that Sunflower is a threat although I admit I don't know that much about the start-up. There is a new Sunflower store right down the street from the OATS in my town...kinda funny I guess I'll do some more research and we'll see where this ride ends. Earnings for OATS to be released at 3:00pm EST on August 4th.Boyent
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