Bullish banter

Looking at the sunnier side of Street

Media and entertainment analysts had no one big topic causing debate across Wall Street ahead of Memorial Day weekend.

Nonetheless, some of them had bullish comments on select companies and sectors, such as cable stocks and video game retailer GameStop Corp., and raised questions about others, such as Sirius Satellite Radio.

Citigroup analyst Jason Bazinet upgraded the U.S. cable sector, arguing that "valuations look compelling" as the market is currently undervaluing sector players' long-term growth prospects.

He raised his rating on cable giants Comcast Corp. and Time Warner Cable from "hold/medium risk" to "buy/medium risk" and boosted his price targets by $3 to $33 and $2 to $44, respectively.

"We still believe (capital expenditures) will remain at elevated levels as long as revenue-generating unit growth remains robust," Bazinet wrote. "However, we increasingly sense that the marginal cable investor is willing to forego near-term free cash flow growth to achieve robust (operating cash flow) growth."

Nonetheless, he also reiterated his bullish stance on shares of satellite TV giant EchoStar Communications, arguing "investors can benefit from owning both EchoStar and cable equities."

Miller Tabak + Co. analyst David Joyce also gave a nod to small cable firm Mediacom Communications, upgrading its stock from "neutral" to "buy" and boosting his price target by $2 to $10.50. While Joyce slightly lowered his 2007 estimates for Mediacom, he said the stock is the "cheapest among (its) peers."

In other bullish moves ahead of the official start of the summer season, BMO Capital Markets analyst Edward Williams raised his estimates on GameStop after the firm's strong first-quarter earnings report.

He rates the stock an "outperform" and now forecasts earnings per share at $1.42 for 2007, up from his previous $1.40 projection.

Williams argued that the company has "a compelling valuation" given his expectation that "GameStop will continue to generate significant revenues, cash flow and earnings-per-share growth."

In one somewhat more critical report, Goldman Sachs analyst Mark Wienkes said Sirius shares, which he rates a rare "sell," could decline 21%.

"Sirius is more likely than not to return to the capital markets (in late 2007 or early 2008) to refill its cash cushion," he said, suggesting it would likely need to raise approximately $300 million.