Danaher (DHR) and Waters Corporation (WAT) were mirror images of one another, with the former rising 1.3% at recent check and the latter falling by 1.3%.
The disparate moves come as Goldman Sachs weighed in on both names, upgrading Danaher to Buy and downgrading Waters to Neutral.
Analyst Isaac Ro and his team write that while Danaher has outperformed since the summer, they are confident it can continue to beat the broader market, given accelerating growth the potential for EPS accretion, based on the company's possible capital allocation strategies.
They see three main catalysts that could spur the stock next year:
(1) Tailwinds in Healthcare are underestimated by the Street: We anticipate continued share gains in AB SCIEX and Beckman, buttressed by a new product cycle (DxN) in 2014/2015. In Dental, we are encouraged by 3Q commentary among peers along with improving consumer spending patterns. We look for updates at the Greater NY Dental Meeting (December 1-4).
(2) Positive set-up in Industrial segments: We believe a positive 2014 outlook from Multi-Industry peers combined with easing 2014 comps in IT/T&M/Environmental present a favorable set-up.
(3) Capital deployment likely near term: We believe a sizable transaction is a near-term possibility, as 76% of capital deployed for acquisitions over $500mn since 2000 has taken place when net debt/EBITDA was below 0.75x, and DHR should exit 2013 at 0.2x. Our M&A and share repurchase scenario analyses yield 2014E EPS accretion of 4-12%. We look for an update on capital deployment at the Investor Meeting on December 12.
Ro and his team have an $88 price target on the stock.
By contrast, they downgraded Waters, writing that their previous bullish thesis was based on improved demand for the company's quality assurance and quality control products, recovery of market share through new product cycles and potential for M&A activity. However, while they still think Waters could be benefit from the latter, they are less sanguine about its top-line and organic growth, which continue to disappoint, and note it may lose share in pharmaceutical end markets due to it prolonged management transition.
They have a $107 price target on the stock.