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Equity Brief: Ratings Changes for November 7th: TSLA, UAM, UHS, UMBF, VE, VHS, VOLC, WCRX, WLP


A number of stocks were upgraded and downgraded by equities research analysts today, as reported by Analyst Ratings Network (http://bit.ly/equitybriefdaily) and Equity Brief:

Jefferies Group reiterated its buy rating on shares of Tesla Motors Inc (TSLA). They have a $36.00 price target on the stock, up previously from $34.00. They wrote, "TSLA closed up 8.9% on Monday (vs. the NASDAQ up 0.6%) after the company reported 3Q results that beat revenue expectations and reiterated guidance. The biggest risk to Tesla in 3Q (and October) was demonstrating that it could successfully ramp production; having passed through the "valley of death," Tesla is now on its way to fulfilling its backlog of Model S orders."

Bank of America downgraded shares of Universal American Corp (UAM) from a neutral rating to an underperform rating. Their analysts now have a $9.50 price target on the stock. They wrote, "We are downgrading UAM shares to Underperform (from Neutral) with a view that companies with Medicare exposure are likely to face an increasingly difficult operating environment under a second Obama term. This includes more reimbursement rate cuts in 2013, the implementation of minimum medical loss ratios and an industry tax in 2014, expiration of STAR bonus payments in 2015 and a cloud of negative political risk. We are lowering our P.O. to $9.50 (from $11.00). Instead, we prefer companies with Medicaid exposure that should benefit from provisions outlined in health care reform legislation."

UBS AG upgraded shares of Universal Health Services (UHS) from a neutral rating to a buy rating.

Raymond James upgraded shares of UMB Financial Co. (UMBF) from an underperform rating to a market perform rating.

UBS AG upgraded shares of Veolia Environnement (VE) from a sell rating to a neutral rating. UBS AG now has a $10.25 price target on the stock.

UBS AG upgraded shares of Vanguard Health Syst (VHS) from a neutral rating to a buy rating.

JMP Securities downgraded shares of Volcano (VOLC) from a market perform rating to an underperform rating. Their analysts now have a $20.00 price target on the stock.

Cantor Fitzgerald upgraded shares of Warner Chilcott (WCRX) from a hold rating to a buy rating. Cantor Fitzgerald now has a $15.00 price target on the stock, up previously from $14.00. They wrote, "We believe that WCRX has traded down significantly post the secondary offering due to a lack of catalysts, minimal expectations of near-term M&A, and continued concerns around the 2014 patent cliff. While we also remain cautious around the patent cliff, we do think the stock is oversold, especially ahead of what we believe to be a very strong quarter. .. Because of the more attractive valuation (driven by lower SG&A, a lower discount period, and additional cash expected in 3Q:12), the dip in share price and the potential for positive catalysts, we have upgraded our rating from HOLD to BUY."

Bank of America downgraded shares of WellPoint, Inc. (WLP) from a buy rating to an underperform rating. Their analysts now have a $63.00 price target on the stock. They wrote, "HC Reform includes many provisions that will be serious earnings headwinds as we approach 2014 including the effect of the exchanges on the Commercial business, minimum MLR in Medicare Advantage, and the industry fee. While the impacts of these provisions have been scrutinized for the past few years, the range of potential outcomes is quite wide with a downside scenario more likely than an upside scenario, in our opinion. This uncertainty is likely to leave the group range bound, trading at 7-9x earnings. WLP has the most exposure to 2014 uncertainty and appears unlikely to show significant upside in 2013, so we are downgrading to an Underperform from a Buy and lowering our PO to $63."

Goldman Sachs initiated coverage on shares of Westport Innovations Inc. (WPRT). They issued a sell rating on the stock and set a $21.00 price target. They wrote, "We are optimistic on the natural gas engine penetration opportunity (15%+ by 2020) and Westport's differentiated offering. However, we see 16% downside as (1) the Cummins JV that accounts for nearly all of WPRT medium-term profits is scheduled to terminate in 2021, with a buyout option at 1.3x EBIT in 2019, (2) high distribution support requirements limit normalized profitability for the Heavy Duty franchise in the absence of a sizeable new agreement, and (3) although WPRT's technology provides best in class performance, low cost alternatives are competitive and available."

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