Equities Research Analysts’ upgrades for Friday, November 25th:
Franklin Resources (NYSE:BEN) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a sell rating to a hold rating. According to Zacks, “Franklin Resources’ shares have outperformed the Zacks categorized investment management industry year-to-date. We remain optimistic as the company’s strategic acquisitions and strong distribution platform have well positioned the company toward growth. Moreover, the company’s fourth-quarter fiscal 2016 earnings (ending Sep 2016) beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate and improved year over year as well. Results were primarily driven by reduced expenses, partially offset by lower revenues. The quarter witnessed decline in assets under management (AUM) and recorded net outflows with significant long-term redemptions in global equities and fixed income categories. However, the company’s muted growth in AUM is likely to put a pressure on investment management fees. Also, volatile markets and unfavorable global economic conditions may further affect the company’s performance.”
Chunghwa Telecom (NYSE:CHT) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a sell rating to a hold rating. According to Zacks, “Chunghwa seems to dominate the Taiwanese telecom market with its presence in 80% of the broadband market and 35% of the wireless market. The company aims to raise its presence in the 4G market in Taiwan to 40% aiming to add almost 2 million 4G wireless subscribers in 2016. Chunghwa is expanding its fiber-based high-speed next-generation FTTx (fiber to the home/building) offerings. The company is building fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) and fiber-to-the-building (FTTB) access infrastructure. However, Chunghwa unveiled a disappointing guidance for certain important metrics for full-year 2016. Both operating and non-operating income and net income are expected to decline in 2016. Again, stringent pricing pressure, oversaturated and competitive telecom market and telecom regulatory changes are the near-term risks.”
Conatus Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:CNAT) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a hold rating to a buy rating. Zacks Investment Research currently has $2.00 target price on the stock. According to Zacks, “Conatus’ third-quarter results were encouraging with the company reporting a narrower-than-expected loss. The company’s progress with its lead candidate, emricasan, has been encouraging. Emricasan is in phase II development for the treatment of chronic liver disease, including NASH fibrosis under the ENCORE program. Conatus also plans to initiate studies on emricasan targeting different types of NASH patient populations. Given that there are currently no approved therapies for NASH and the significant market opportunity, the company’s efforts to develop emricasan are promising. Moreover, the company’s plans to evaluate partnership opportunities for emricasan outside North America could be rewarding, if successful. However, emricasan is still several years away from entering the market, if at all. Any development/regulatory setback could hamper the company’s prospects and impact the stock adversely.”
Capital Power Corp (TSE:CPX) was upgraded by analysts at GMP Securities from a hold rating to a buy rating.
Capital Power Corp (TSE:CPX) was upgraded by analysts at Raymond James Financial Inc. from a market perform rating to an outperform rating. They currently have C$24.00 target price on the stock, up from their previous target price of C$20.00.
Domino's Pizza Group PLC. (LON:DOM) was upgraded by analysts at Canaccord Genuity to a buy rating. The firm currently has GBX 400 ($5.00) price target on the stock.
Equifax (NYSE:EFX) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a hold rating to a buy rating. Zacks Investment Research currently has $134.00 price target on the stock. According to Zacks, “Equifax is a leading provider of information services to individuals and businesses. Of late most of the estimates for Equifax have gone up on the back of an encouraging full-year earnings guidance, indicating that its growth initiatives are aimed in the right direction. Management’s efforts, such as strategic initiatives for product innovation, expansion of data assets through acquisitions and continuous share gains in North America, should prove to be tailwinds. Also, the company’s strong correlation with the consumer and financial markets as well as exposure in the U.S. and Europe are likely to propel growth, going ahead. However, stiff competition from peers and uncertainty in the mortgage sector pose concerns.”
Fastenal (NASDAQ:FAST) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a sell rating to a hold rating. According to Zacks, “Fastenal Company reported lower-than expected results in the third quarter of 2016, missing estimates for both earnings and sales. Fastenal’s revenues are being hurt as the sales of fasteners into heavy manufacturing, construction end markets were relatively weak. It is due to overall weakness in the industrial economy. An unfavorable customer mix and product mix resulted in below average gross margins. In fact, the company does not see any improvement in gross margin rates through the rest of 2016 as well. That said, the company’s cost-saving initiative Pathway-to-Profit bode well. Meanwhile, vending trends continue to improve in 2016 as efforts to improve the quality of signings/installs paid off. In 2016, the company intends to increase its investment in the vending program and expects it to outperform through 2016 and beyond.”
INTERTEK GROUP UNSP ADR EACH REPR 1 (OTCMKTS:IKTSY) was upgraded by analysts at Societe Generale from a sell rating to a hold rating.
Ingersoll-Rand PLC (NYSE:IR) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a hold rating to a buy rating. Zacks Investment Research currently has $85.00 price target on the stock. According to Zacks, “Ingersoll reported strong third-quarter 2016 results with healthy year-over-year increase in both earnings and revenues that exceeded the respective Zacks Consensus Estimate. Ingersoll is focusing on improving the efficiencies and capabilities of products and services within its core businesses after the divesture of the commercial and residential security businesses. The geographic and industry diversity, coupled with a large installed product base provides ample growth opportunities within service, spare parts and replacement revenue streams. A strong and flexible balance sheet, robust operating portfolio, efficient management team and healthy cash flow to pursue opportunistic acquisitions remain additional tailwinds. Ingersoll also raised the guidance for 2016 on favorable growth dynamics. However, operating risks from high R&D costs for technology-driven products are expected to weigh on margins in the quarters ahead.”
PPL Corp. (NYSE:PPL) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a hold rating to a buy rating. The firm currently has $37.00 price target on the stock. According to Zacks, “PPL Corporation’s diverse asset portfolio and business model allow it to perform in and adapt to different market conditions. PPL Corp.’s capital investment plan primarily focuses on infrastructure construction projects for generation, transmission and distribution. The company projects total capital expenditure of approximately $15.4 billion in the 2016–2020 timeframe.The affirmation of the 2016 earnings guidance confirms management’s positive stance. In light of the fluctuating currency, PPL Corp. has reestablished its hedge levels to shield itself from any near-term decline in the GBP. Nevertheless, volatile commodity prices and regulatory risks pose challenges to PPL Corporation’s growth. PPL Corp.’s operations are also subject to service disruptions in form of breakdown of equipment, natural calamities and sudden outages.”
Radian Group (NYSE:RDN) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a hold rating to a buy rating. Zacks Investment Research currently has $16.00 target price on the stock. According to Zacks, “Radian Group is poised for long-term growth on expansive mortgage and real estate service offerings, declining delinquency, lower levels of paid claims and improving risk-based capital ratio. The company is on track to return to investment grade ratings with recent upgrade for Radian group and Radian Guaranty from S&P. Its initiatives to solidify the financial position and improved debt maturity profile bode well. However, stricter regulations, rising mortgage rates and a competitive market pose risks for the company. With respect to quarterly results, Radian Group’s third-quarter 2016 earnings outperformed the Zacks Consensus Estimate and also improved year over year. Notably, the company witnessed the highest volume of new flow mortgage insurance business written in the third quarter of 2016.”
S&P Global (NYSE:SPGI) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a hold rating to a buy rating. The firm currently has $135.00 price target on the stock. According to Zacks, “S&P Global continues to impress investors with better-than-expected earnings for the 15th consecutive quarter. Further, the company surpassed the revenues estimate for the second straight quarter with strong performances across S&P Global Ratings and S&P Global Market Intelligence. The company raised its 2016 earnings guidance on the back of healthy growth dynamics. S&P Global is now focusing on its core business that would help it emerge as a leader among rating providers, benchmark providers, and analytics in the global capital and commodity markets. The accretive acquisition of SNL Financial also augurs well for the long-term growth of the company. Over the years, the company has consistently returned significant cash to its shareholders through dividends and share repurchases. However, financial distress could either dent investor’s demand for debt securities or make issuers reluctant to issue such securities.”
SunTrust Banks (NYSE:STI) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a hold rating to a buy rating. The firm currently has $59.00 price target on the stock. According to Zacks, “SunTrust shares have outperformed the Zacks categorized Major Regional Banks industry over the last three months. Its initiatives to enhance revenues through growth in loan and deposit balances are impressive. In Oct 2016, the company announced a deal to buy Pillar Financial, which is likely to improve Wholesale Banking segment revenue by $90 million in 2017. Also, the gradually stabilizing energy sector will aid the company’s credit quality in the near term. However, continued pressure on margin in absence of notable rate hike, significant exposure to risky loan portfolios and stringent regulatory requirements are major cause of concerns.”