Market Overview

Equity Brief: Ratings Changes for November 22nd: AAP, APD, ATU, BBY, BG, BIN, BJRI, CAKE, CLB


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:

Zacks reiterated its underperform rating on shares of Advance Auto Parts, Inc. (NYSE: AAP). They have a $71.00 price target on the stock. Zacks' analyst wrote, "Advance Auto parts aims to improve its supply chain and vendor terms by pursuing an aggressive store expansion strategy. However, the sluggish economy, volatile gasoline prices and pricing are some of the challenges facing the company. The company's profits fell 14.2% to $1.21 per share in the third quarter of the year due to weak sales in the cold weather markets however, it was in line with the Zacks Consensus Estimate. The company also lowered its earnings outlook for 2012 due to the short-term softness in sales. As such, we continue with our Underperform recommendation on the stock and set a target price of $71.00. "

Zacks downgraded shares of Air Products & Chemicals, Inc. (NYSE: APD) from a neutral rating to an underperform rating. Their analysts now have a $74.00 price target on the stock.

Jefferies Group reiterated its hold rating on shares of Actuant Co. (NYSE: ATU). They have a $32.00 price target on the stock, down previously from $34.00. They wrote, "We checked in with ATU, updated our end-market analyses and completed channel checks of Enerpac, and we continue to believe there is good visibility on earnings growth for F13. Our forecast is below the Street and at the low end of guidance owing to some sales concerns we have over Enerpac."

Jefferies Group gave shares of Best Buy Co., Inc. (NYSE: BBY) a new $13.00 price target. They now have a buy rating on the stock. They wrote, "Until we see a stabilization in operating results, we doubt the market is going to give Best Buy the benefit of the doubt on its turnaround efforts. Sales results in 3Q results were weak, but SG&A investments at domestic and gross margin weakness at international were responsible for a big part of the earnings miss. Shares likely reacted to a sharply lowered FCF outlook and increasing concerns a deal may not materialize."

Wedbush gave shares of Best Buy Co., Inc. (NYSE: BBY) a new $9.00 price target. They now have a buy rating on the stock. They wrote, "We reiterate our UNDERPERFORM rating and are lowering our 12-month price target to $9 from $14.50, which reflects further operating margin erosion, low visibility, lack of FY:13 guidance, our view that a takeover is unlikely, and our doubts about the company's turnaround plan. We believe Best Buy has been unable to stem sustained comp declines and eroding margins, and remains at a significant disadvantage to its lower-priced and lower-cost peers."

Macquarie reiterated its neutral rating on shares of BG Group (LON: BG). They have a $20.70 price target on the stock.

Scotia Capital upgraded shares of Iesi-Bfc Ltd (BIN) from a sector perform rating to an outperform rating.

Zacks downgraded shares of BJ's Restaurants, Inc. (BJRI) from a neutral rating to an underperform rating. Their analysts now have a $30.00 price target on the stock. Zacks' analyst wrote, "We remain cautious on the stock based on the top- and bottom- line miss as well as the decelerating growth in comps and margins in the third quarter. The slump in broader market has taken a toll on BJ's performance in the quarter. A set of macro issues like the national political conventions and higher gasoline prices in California kept consumers more home bound and less inclined to dining out in October which will likely subdue its fourth quarter comps. A higher cost structure mainly related to payroll taxes, marketing spend and kitchen wages is expected in the fourth quarter of 2012. Going forward, an increased level of pre-opening costs and stiff competition is also expected with the company's foray into the new market. A relatively smaller scale and lack of advertising strength compared to its larger peers is another negative for BJ's. Hence, we downgrade the recommendation from Neutral to Underperform."

Zacks reiterated its neutral rating on shares of Cheesecake Factory (CAKE). They have a $36.00 price target on the stock. Zacks' analyst wrote, "Cheesecake Factory remains well poised to drive its earnings through modest comparable sales growth and margin improvement. Efficient cost savings, pricing actions, introduction of new menu and faster recovery of higher-end consumers augment the company's growth potential. The company is also concentrating on enhancing shareholder value in terms of share repurchase activity. However, an uncertain economy, faltering consumer confidence as well as heightened competition will likely restrain the company's growth in the near term. A relatively benign food cost environment will also turn tougher in 2013. While the upcoming fourth quarter is seasonally strong, it will face tough year-over-year comparison as the fourth quarter of 2011 had an extra week. Additionally, the recent comps underperformance by Grand Lux Caf remains another concern. Hence, we maintain our Neutral recommendation on the stock."

Zacks reiterated its neutral rating on shares of Core Labs (CLB). They have a $106.00 price target on the stock. Zacks' analyst wrote, "We like Core Labs' leadership position in the reservoir optimization niche, along with its global footprint and deep portfolio of proprietary products and services. Furthermore, the company s low asset intensive operations and limited capex needs allow it to generate substantial free cash flows. However, we see limited upside potential for shares due to the specialized service provider s sensitivity to gas/oil price volatility, as well as E&P spending patterns, costs, geo-political risks, competition and the advent of new technologies. As such, we expect Core Labs to perform in line with the broader market and, therefore, maintain our Neutral recommendation. "

Bank of America raised its price target on shares of Campbell Soup Company (CPB) from $36.00 to $37.00. They have a neutral rating on the stock. They wrote, "Timing related factors make it difficult to assess the underlying performance of the soup business relative to the plan that management set out in July. That said, innovation pipeline is coming in as planned, brand Chunky is contributing to improving RTS, and condensed is on decent footing in light of the higher pricing. . We increase our FY13E EPS by 4c, in line with mgmt guidance of $2.51-$2.57. Our estimates reflect 2Q of $0.65 (1.1% YoY and lower than expected FY13 growth) driven by higher marketing support for new products and working down higher soup (mainly RTS) inventories from 1Q."

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