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Equities Research Analysts’ upgrades for Thursday, July 10th:

Alcoa (NYSE:AA) was upgraded by analysts at TheStreet from a hold rating to a buy rating. The analysts wrote, “Alcoa (AA) has been upgraded by TheStreet Ratings from hold to buy. The company’s strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its solid stock price performance, growth in earnings per share, good cash flow from operations and increase in net income. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had somewhat disappointing return on equity.”

Allianz SE (OTCMKTS:AZSEY) was upgraded by analysts at Societe Generale from a sell rating to a hold rating.

Citrix Systems (NASDAQ:CTXS) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks from a neutral rating to an outperform rating. They currently have $75.00 price target on the stock. Zacks’ analyst wrote, “Citrix Systems reported strong first quarter 2014 financial results with both the top and the bottom line outpacing the Zacks Consensus Estimate. We believe that the global trend toward virtualization and cloud computing will facilitate Citrix to maintain its momentum in the long term. Further, the business fundamentals of Citrix remain intriguing as the corporate spending for IT is expected to rise globally. As a result the company raised its guidance for the next quarter as well as for fiscal 2014. Moreover, both its XenMobile and XenApps are gaining significant market traction in the highly lucrative enterprise mobility segment and Windows app virtualization. Meanwhile, Citrix plans to boost shareholders wealth by authorizing a $1.5 billion share buyback plan. We, thus, upgrade our recommendation on Citrix to Outperform from Neutral. “

Ferrellgas Partners, L.P. (NYSE:FGP) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks from a neutral rating to an outperform rating. They currently have $32.00 price target on the stock. Zacks’ analyst wrote, “We are upgrading our recommendation on Ferrellgas Partners L.P. to Outperform from Neutral, primarily on the back of systematic acquisitions program backed by its stable liquidity position and improvement in operational efficiency. The partnership acquires assets whose operations overlap its existing operation, providing economies of scale, significant cost savings and as a result are immediately accretive to earnings. In fiscal year 2014, Ferrellgas completed six acquisitions. We believe the partnership’s acquisition-centric growth strategy will likely boost its future results. In addition, Ferrellgas is currently diversifying its operations by entering into the salt water disposal services through strategic acquisitions. This initiative will enable the partnership to expand its revenue streams. Ferrellgas’ steady effort towards maximizing unitholders’ wealth through payment of cash distribution at regular intervals is appreciable.”

HEINEKEN N V/S (OTCMKTS:HEINY) was upgraded by analysts at Credit Suisse from an underperform rating to a neutral rating.

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide (NYSE:HOT) was upgraded by analysts at Citigroup Inc. from a hold rating to a buy rating. The firm currently has $86.00 price target on the stock, down from their previous price target of $96.00.

Sibanye Gold (NASDAQ:SBGL) was upgraded by analysts at Macquarie from an underperform rating to a neutral rating.

Stone Energy (NYSE:SGY) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks from an underperform rating to a neutral rating. The firm currently has $46.00 target price on the stock. Zacks’ analyst wrote, “We are upgrading our recommendation on Stone Energy from Underperform to Neutral. The company has a multi-year inventory of drilling prospects. The company is working on a strategy to fund its growth areas in Appalachia, the Rockies and the Deep Gas/Deepwater in the conventional shelf. It is actively engaged in horizontal well drilling in the Marcellus Shale and involved in various vertical tests in the Bakken Shale play. These are likely to add to revenues in the coming quarters. However, any delay in the operations of these wells will negatively affect the company’s earnings. Further, the company’s results are directly exposed to oil and gas prices, which are inherently volatile and subject to complex market forces.”

Square 1 Financial (NASDAQ:SQBK) was upgraded by analysts at Sandler O’Neill from a hold rating to a buy rating.

Constellation Brands (NYSE:STZ) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks from a neutral rating to an outperform rating. They currently have $99.00 price target on the stock. Zacks’ analyst wrote, “We have upgraded our long-term recommendation on Constellation brands to Outperform following the company’s splendid first-quarter fiscal 2015 results and upbeat guidance for the fiscal. The company’s results were mainly benefited from the acquisition of Crown Imports business during the last fiscal. We remain impressed with Constellation Brand’s consistent focus on brand building and efforts to include new products in its wine and spirits businesses, which are key growth drivers for the stock. Owing to its strategic endeavors, the company is witnessing steady depletion trends and an increasing market share in the U.S. wine and spirits category. Moreover, the company is increasing its distribution points in retail and effectively executing its strategic merchandising initiatives, aimed at bolstering sales.”

Tractor Supply Company (NASDAQ:TSCO) was upgraded by analysts at Morgan Stanley from an equal weight rating to an outperform rating. The firm currently has $65.00 target price on the stock, down from their previous target price of $70.00. The analysts wrote, “We remain on the sidelines with TSCO and take our price target to $65 from $70 as the stock’s risk/reward seems fair. The Q2 shortfall (a 7% EPS miss) is not awful in an absolute sense and the longer-term growth story remains intact in our view. However, Q3 compares are more challenging (comps and EPS), implying a possible third quarter in a row of below-average growth. In addition, TSCO’s P/E multiple, even after last night’s 5% aftermarket decline, at 24x 2014 EPS is above the 5 year average of 21x.”

Tower Group International (NASDAQ:TWGP) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks from an underperform rating to a neutral rating. They currently have $2.00 price target on the stock. Zacks’ analyst wrote, “We are upgrading our recommendation on Tower Group to Neutral from Underperform to reflect our optimism on the proposed merger with ACP Re. The merger will not only pay off the current shareholders handsomely, but will also shape a brighter future for the company. Tower Group fell victim of its accounting fallacies by keeping aside a thin cushion of reserve to pay out claims. The embattled insurer consequently witnessed capital drain, reserve shortfall, job cuts, stake divestiture in Canopius and cancellation of the previously announced acquisition of American Safety Reinsurance, Ltd. (ASRe), quitting of CEO as well as ratings’ downgrade. The merger terms with ACP has also been amended to a lower per share cash payment to $2.50 from $3.00. However, there is widespread doubt about the likelihood of the deal. In May, the company hired Greenhill & Co. for advice on repaying debt if the takeover collapses. “

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