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Why Adidas AG wasn’t a TOP or a FLOP last week…and why HeidelbergCement AG and Deutsche Lufthansa AG were

Adidas (ETR:ADS) (FRA:ADS) received price target updates from three analysts last week. On Monday, Commerzbank upped its price target for the shoemaker and sportswear company from 57 to 63 euros. The move was followed on Friday by two analyst reports: Kepler Cheuvreux also raised its target, from 58 to 60 euros, and Japanese firm Nomura held the target price steady at 69 euros.

But the stock price only moved a few percentage points. Why?

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Well, the price was already in the low 60s, but more importantly, all three analysts reiterated the stock’s “Hold”/ ”Neutral” status. Kepler Cheuvreux analyst Jürgen Kolb felt as though the potential effects of a favorable exchange rate was already priced into the stock. Nomura analyst Christopher Walker wrote that he would need to see a solid medium-term strategy for North America before he could give the stock a favorable rating. Adidas was up 3.5% for the week: a respectable performance, but far from TOP status. I think the analysts raised valid concerns about the stock, and I’m not sure I’d buy right now either.

So…who were the TOPS then?

HeidelbergCement AG (ETR:HEI) (FRA:HEI) was up more than 6% for the week, easily the best performance by a DAX company. The world’s largest producer of sand and gravel was buoyed by a solid earnings report, a reduced debt load, and a positive 2015 prognosis. „In operational terms, 2014 was by far the most successful year for HeidelbergCement since the financial crisis,“ said Chief Executive Bernd Scheifele.

The company was also able to reduce its debt load to below 7 billion euros for the first time since 2007, when it went deep into debt to acquire British building materials company Hanson PLC. Currently, the HeidelbergCement’s debt has received the highest junk rating from both Moody’s and Fitch, meaning any improvement would bring it back to investment-grade status.

“We will continue with our successful strategy of adding value by means of debt reduction and growth, as well as keep our focus on improving our operating efficiency and margins,” Scheifele said in a statement. “Considering the positive outlook for the global economy and our advantageous geographical positioning, we are confident about the future.”

I agree. I think HeidelbergCement will continue to benefit throughout 2015 from its reduced debt load and improved North American and British housing markets.

LPKF Laser & Electronics AG (ETR:LPK) (FRA:LPK) rose more than 14% on Thursday after announcing it had received an order worth 2.5 million euros from a client in China. This was by far the biggest one-day jump of any stock on the HDAX last week. This may be the first in a series of orders: Ingo Bretthauer, LPKF’s CEO, said that he expected the second phase to come in the next few months.

However, even Thursday’s jump does little to alter the stock’s downward trend: its price has been trending steadily downward since January 2014. I’d need to see a bit more evidence of stabilization before I bought in.

Who was the FLOP?

Lufthansa (ETR:LHA) (FRA:LHA) can’t seem to catch a break lately. After being the worst DAX performer the week before last (down almost 8.5%), it was second-worst last week, down another 1.74%. Continued friction with its unions over early retirement benefits are to blame: on the heels of a two-day pilots’ strike at Lufthansa’s discount Germanwings carrier Thursday and Friday, the pilots’ union, Vereinigung Cockpit, warned that “we are not ruling out further strikes  and are considering all options,” including more widespread strikes. Unfortunately, neither side currently seems willing to budge.





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John Bromels has no positions in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool does not own any of the stocks mentioned.

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