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Equity Brief: Ratings Changes for November 16th: OSUR, PLCE, RES, RF, ROP, SCHW, SDRL, SKS, SNP


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:

JMP Securities initiated coverage on shares of OraSure Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ: OSUR). They issued an outperform rating on the stock and set a $12.00 price target.

Monness, Crespi, Hardt lowered its price target on shares of Children's Place Retail Stores, Inc. (NASDAQ: PLCE) from $64.00 to $59.00. They have a buy rating on the stock. They wrote, "Given easy comparisons over the remainder of 4QFY12, we think the company's revised guidance could prove overly conservative. In addition, we expect solid same-store sales growth going forward as PLCE anniversaries a significant reduction in Canadian inventories and increases the amount of made for outlet product in its stores. Longer term, we believe management can increase the company's operating margin to the low double digit range which would lead to earnings power of approximately $6.00 per share. The balance sheet is strong with $8.36 per share of net cash. PLCE shares are relatively inexpensive at 4.8x EV/EBITDA. Our $59 price target is based on 13x our FY13 EPS estimate of $3.75 plus $10 per share of projected year end cash."

Dahlman Rose upgraded shares of RPC, Inc (NYSE: RES) from a sell rating to a hold rating.

Robert W. Baird upgraded shares of Regions Financial Corp (NYSE: RF) from a neutral rating to an outperform rating. Robert W. Baird now has a $8.00 price target on the stock, up previously from $7.00.

Citigroup upgraded shares of Roper Industries Inc (NYSE: ROP) from a neutral rating to a buy rating. Citigroup now has a $130.00 price target on the stock, up previously from $112.00. They wrote, "Why now? - (1) Roper's migration to an SaaS business model has tipped its mix to +35% recurring revenues with its asset light and strong FCF businesses. (2) We have greater confidence in Roper's ability to sustain its highly differentiated M&A model, including its standby external legal and financial due diligence resources. (3) Based on our 10-year quantitative and qualitative screening model, Roper now screens among the highest quality companies in the sector. The implication is that, according to our investment framework, we are approaching the point in the cycle where we would have a bias for recommending these highest quality "Primes"

Compass Point initiated coverage on shares of Charles Schwab (SCHW). They issued a neutral rating on the stock and set a $13.50 price target.

Credit Suisse upgraded shares of Seadrill Ltd (SDRL) from a neutral rating to an outperform rating. Credit Suisse now has a $48.00 price target on the stock, up previously from $45.00.

Zacks reiterated its neutral rating on shares of Saks Inc (SKS). They have a $10.00 price target on the stock. Zacks' analyst wrote, "Saks' third quarter earnings of $0.12 per share were in line with the Zacks Consensus Estimate. Earnings increased modestly by 9.1% from the prior-year quarter earnings on higher year-over-year sales. Overall, we are encouraged with the strong performance of women's and men's contemporary apparel, women's and men's shoes, handbags, fine jewelry and fragrances, which drove the comparable store sales by 3.3% in the quarter. The company also remains focused on executing its core merchandising, service and marketing strategies, through various operating initiatives. However, higher promotional activity led to contraction in gross margins. Moreover, higher input costs and uncertain macro-economic environment remain a headwind, keeping us on the sidelines with a Neutral rating. "

Citigroup upgraded shares of China Petroleum and Chemical (SNP) from a neutral rating to a buy rating.

Zacks reiterated its neutral rating on shares of Stryker (SYK). They have a $55.00 price target on the stock.

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