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Equity Brief: Ratings Changes for November 16th: HES, HIW, HK, HLSS, HOLX, HPY, HTS, IAG, IART


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:

Standpoint Research upgraded shares of Hess Corp (NYSE: HES) from a hold rating to a buy rating.

Zacks reiterated its neutral rating on shares of Highwoods Prop (NYSE: HIW). They have a $33.00 price target on the stock. Zacks' analyst wrote, "Highwoods reported modest third quarter 2012 results with recurring FFO exceeding the Zacks Consensus Estimate by $0.01. Highwoods is one of the largest fully-integrated owners and operators of suburban office, industrial, and retail properties in the Southeastern and Midwestern U.S., providing a complete line of real estate services to its customers and third parties. Highwoods is repositioning its portfolio to focus on markets that have better job and rent growth prospects. The company has a relatively strong balance sheet and adequate liquidity. However, we expect volatility in the office sector with job cuts. We maintain our Neutral rating on the company as we anticipate it to perform in line with the broader market"

Capital One upgraded shares of Halcon Resources (NYSE: HK) from an add rating to a strong-buy rating.

Deutsche Bank upgraded shares of Home Loan Servicing Solutions Ltd (NASDAQ: HLSS) from a hold rating to a buy rating. Deutsche Bank now has a $19.25 price target on the stock. They wrote, "We are upgrading HLSS to a Buy from a Hold given the div increase (12c/mo from 11c/mo) and our expectation of stable ROEs. Prepayment speeds on subprime loans, which HLSS targets, are less sensitive to prepayments, and advances have virtually no credit risk since they are senior to AAA cash flows. We believe the recent pullback, caused by high yield stocks coming under pressure, has created an attractive buying opportunity for HLSS."

Zacks reiterated its neutral rating on shares of Hologic, Inc. (NASDAQ: HOLX). They have a $21.00 price target on the stock. Zacks' analyst wrote, "Hologic's fourth quarter 2012 adjusted EPS of $0.37 was ahead of the Zacks Consensus Estimate by a penny, and beat the year-ago adjusted EPS of $0.34. Revenues increased 26% year over to $588.5 million, surpassing the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $559 million. We are encouraged with increasing acceptance of the 3D Dimensions system and robust growth in the Diagnostics business. We are also impressed with the improving growth in GYN Surgical driven by increased focus on NovaSure and MyoSure systems. However, headwinds remain in the form of economic uncertainties in Europe, slower sales cycles and increasing pricing pressure. Moreover higher interest expense will continue to affect the bottom line. We reiterate our Neutral' recommendation on the stock. "

SunTrust initiated coverage on shares of Hologic, Inc. (NASDAQ: HOLX). They issued a neutral rating on the stock and set a $19.00 price target.

Wells Fargo & Co. upgraded shares of Heartland Payment Systems Inc (HPY) from a market perform rating to an outperform rating.

Wells Fargo & Co. upgraded shares of Hatteras Financial Corp. (HTS) from a market perform rating to an outperform rating.

CIBC downgraded shares of IAMGOLD Corp (IAG) from an outperform rating to an outperform rating.

Mackie downgraded shares of IAMGOLD Corp (IAG) from a buy rating to a hold rating. They wrote, "Financial results fall well short of expectations, due more to lower sales: Only 188 Koz of gold was actually sold in 3Q/12, meaning adjusted EPS of $0.16 ($0.21 reported) and cash flow of $0.30 was well below our forecasted $0.26 and $0.42. Hence, while 3Q/12 financial performance will be seen as a disappointment, the short-fall should be recouped in 4Q/12 when gold inventory is sold."

SunTrust initiated coverage on shares of Integra LifeSciences (IART). They issued a neutral rating on the stock and set a $33.00 price target.

Zacks reiterated its neutral rating on shares of International Flavors & Fragrances Inc. (IFF). They have a $65.00 price target on the stock. Zacks' analyst wrote, "IFF posted EPS of $1.08, above the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.07 and up 8% y/y based on new business wins, decelerating raw material cost increases and pricing actions. However, softness in North America and Europe as well as a negative foreign currency translation impacted revenue results in the quarter. Revenue registered a 1% decline, or roughly a 5% growth excluding a currency translation impact. Management anticipates sales momentum to grow in 4Q12 based on its increasing emerging market exposure. Also, cost pressures are likely to abate as the year progresses while gross margin is expected to grow. Restructuring of the Fragrances division, growing exposure to emerging markets, product innovations and dividend increases were encouraging. Going forward, we assume that new business wins, geographical diversifications, wide product lines, continuous accomplishments in research and intense consumer insight will prove to be growth driving catalysts. We maintain a Neutral recommendation on the stock."

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