Equities Research Analysts’ upgrades for Wednesday, October 11th:

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a hold rating to a buy rating. The firm currently has $175.00 price target on the stock. According to Zacks, “Apple’s enriched product portfolio that now includes the new iPhones, Watch 3 and 4K TV will help the stock sustain momentum against S&P 500 going forward. This, along with the company's $1-billion investment for acquiring original content and its plan to break into film distribution market will further boost services’ revenues. Apple recently collaborated with Steven Spielberg's Amblin TV and NBCUniversal to revive Amazing Stories. Additionally, foray into fast-growing technologies like AI & AR/VR are long-term growth catalysts. However, the new iPhone X at $999 is quite pricey, particularly for markets like China and India. Moreover, slight delay in launching the product as compared with iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, reflects supply chain issues. This can be a concern during the upcoming holiday season. Moreover, intensifying competition from cheaper Chinese handset-makers cannot be ignored.”

Caterpillar (NYSE:CAT) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a hold rating to a buy rating. Zacks Investment Research currently has $142.00 price target on the stock. According to Zacks, “Caterpillar's August sales rose 11%, aided by improvement in Asia Pacific and construction. Sales growth has been in the positive territory since it entered the same in March, logging an average sales growth of 6.7% since then. Caterpillar guides revenue in the range of $42–$44 billion and earnings per share of $5.00 for 2017. The mid-point of the ranges reflect a year-over-year growth of 12% and 46%, respectively. Asia Pacific will continue to be catalyst, owing to increased infrastructure and residential investment in China. Leading indicators of U.S. construction signal robust conditions ahead that bodes well for Caterpillar. Efforts to reduce costs will help boost margins. Year-to-date, Caterpillar has outperformed the industry. Its estimates have gone up lately. It has a positive record of earnings surprises in the past few quarters.”

Digital Realty Trust (NYSE:DLR) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a hold rating to a buy rating. Zacks Investment Research currently has $133.00 price target on the stock. According to Zacks, “Shares of Digital Realty outperformed the industry it belongs to, year to date. Recently, Digital Realty announced the development of a six-megawatt facility at 3205 Alfred Street in Santa Clara, CA. The move will help the company expand its Silicon Valley Connected Campus. Also, in September, the company announced the completion of a merger with DuPont Fabros. This buyout helped the company reinforce its hyper-scale product offering and widen its blue-chip customer base. The company is well poised for growth, backed by robust fundamentals of the data center market. Accretive acquisitions, development efforts and solid balance sheet augur well for long-term growth. However, exposure of its earnings to foreign currency translation and cut-throat competition in the industry remain concerns.”

Global Payments (NYSE:GPN) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a hold rating to a buy rating. Zacks Investment Research currently has $110.00 price target on the stock. According to Zacks, “Global Payments' shares have outperformed its industry year to date. The company’s investment in future growth, efforts to progress with the Heartland integration and successfully refinancing its credit facilities bode well for the long term. The company is witnessing sustained growth in business from Europe, Asia Pacific and North America. Following the company’s strong second-quarter earnings, Heartland integration as well as the recent refinancing, the company raised its projections for 2017. Nevertheless, the company suffers from high debt and exposure to currency volatility.”

Jack In The Box (NASDAQ:JACK) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a sell rating to a hold rating. According to Zacks, “Jack in the Box makes regular menu innovations and plans to continue focusing on improving the guest experience at both brands via operational excellence. In addition, its premium and value offerings at Jack In the Box along with increased focus on breakfast menu to combat competition bode well. Increased focus on franchising should also drive long-term growth. Meanwhile comps at the Qdoba brand have been suffering due to poor restaurant level execution. A choppy sales environment in the U.S. restaurant space has further been hurting comps at both the brands and might continue doing so. Notably, Jack in the Box’s shares have underperformed the industry year-to-date. Further, higher costs might continue to hurt margins. Nonetheless, expansion of third-party delivery channels at both brands should also increase transactions and sales. Efforts to reinvigorate the Qdoba brand also bodes well.”

Altria Group (NYSE:MO) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a hold rating to a buy rating. The firm currently has $71.00 target price on the stock. According to Zacks, “Shares of Altria have underperformed the industry in the last three months, owing to declining demand of tobacco. The ongoing anti-tobacco campaigns and price rise to offset surging taxes have been hurting the demand for tobacco. Nevertheless, we believe the company’s shift to low-risk, smokeless tobacco products to boost market share remains appealing. Altria has proactively responded to the changing market scenario toward low-risk tobacco products and offered several reduced risk tobacco products which helped it to maintain market share. MarkTen e-cigarette and Green Smoke e-vapor are few flagship products belonging to this category. Further, Altria is expected to sell Philip Morris’s iQOS heated tobacco product in the domestic market, once it gains approval from the FDA. The company is also on track with its cost-reduction initiatives and consolidation of certain manufacturing facilities to streamline operations.”

Planet Fitness (NYSE:PLNT) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a hold rating to a buy rating. Zacks Investment Research currently has $29.00 target price on the stock. According to Zacks, “Planet Fitness, Inc. franchises and operates fitness centers through its subsidiaries. The company’s operating segments consists of Franchise, Corporate-owned stores and Equipment. It is engaged in licensing and selling franchises under the Planet Fitness trade name, owning and operating fitness centers under the Planet Fitness trade name and selling fitness-related equipment to franchisee-owned stores. Planet Fitness, Inc. is headquartered in Newington, New Hampshire. “

Protalix Biotherapeutics (NYSEMKT:PLX) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a sell rating to a hold rating. According to Zacks, “Protalix is a biopharmaceutical company focused on the development and commercialization of recombinant therapeutic proteins expressed through its proprietary plant cell-based expression system, ProCellEx(R). Protalix’s unique expression system presents a proprietary method for developing recombinant proteins in a cost-effective, industrial-scale manner. Protalix’s first product manufactured by ProCellEx, taliglucerase alfa, was approved for marketing by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in May 2012 and, subsequently, by the regulatory authorities of other countries. Protalix has licensed to Pfizer Inc. the worldwide development and commercialization rights for taliglucerase alfa, excluding Brazil, where Protalix retains full rights. “

PennantPark Investment Corporation (NASDAQ:PNNT) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a sell rating to a hold rating. According to Zacks, “PennantPark Investment Corporation is a business development company which principally invests in U.S. middle-market private companies in the form of mezzanine debt, senior secured loans and equity investments. The companies in which it invests are typically highly leveraged, often as a result of leveraged buy-outs or other recapitalization transactions. PennantPark’s investment objectives are to generate both current income and capital appreciation through debt and equity investments. PennantPark Investment Corporation is managed by PennantPark Investment Advisers, LLC. “

Polar Power (NASDAQ:POLA) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a sell rating to a hold rating. According to Zacks, “Polar Power Inc. is engaged in designing, manufacturing and selling direct current power, systems and cooling systems for telecommunications, military, hybrid power station, DC marine and rapid charging electric vehicle. Its product portfolio includes DC generators, Marine DC generators, DC alternators, Li-ion batteries and generator accessories. Polar Power Inc. is headquatered in Gardena, California. “

Primerica (NYSE:PRI) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a hold rating to a buy rating. Zacks Investment Research currently has $96.00 target price on the stock. According to Zacks, “Primerica, Inc. provides financial products and services. It assists its clients in meeting their needs for term life insurance, which it underwrites, and mutual funds, variable annuities and other financial products, which it distributes primarily on behalf of third parties. The Company’s mission is to serve middle income families by helping them make informed financial decisions and providing them with a strategy and means to gain financial independence. The Company’s sales representatives use its proprietary financial needs analysis, or FNA, tool and an educational approach to demonstrate how its products can assist clients to provide financial protection for their families, save for their retirement and manage their debt. The Company’s clients are generally middle income consumers. Primerica also provides an entrepreneurial business opportunity for individuals to distribute its financial products. The Company is based in Duluth, Georgia. “

Park National (NYSEMKT:PRK) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a sell rating to a hold rating. According to Zacks, “Park National Corporation is the bank holding company for The Park National Bank, The Richland Trust Company, Century National Bank, The First-Knox National Bank of Mount Vernon, United Bank, N.A., Second National Bank, The Security National Bank and Trust Co. and The Citizens National Bank of Urbana. “

Primo Water Corporation (NASDAQ:PRMW) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a sell rating to a hold rating. According to Zacks, “Prime Water Corporation operates as a provider of three- and five-gallon purified bottled water and water dispensers sold through major retailers nationwide. The Company’s water bottles can be sanitized and reused, crushed and recycled. Also, it provides water bottle exchange solution for its retail customers. It operates through two segments, Primo Bottled Water Exchange and Primo Products. Prime Water Corporation is headquartered in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. “

Pioneer Natural Resources (NYSE:PXD) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a hold rating to a buy rating. The firm currently has $169.00 price target on the stock. According to Zacks, “Pioneer remains focused on the Permian Basin, which is among the lucrative oil shale plays with less risk for operation. The region has been growing production even with reduced investment. It is to be noted that for 2017, Pioneer expects production growth between 15% and 18%. The company’s low level of debt is also noteworthy. Since 2016, there has been a steady decline in the company’s long-term debt levels, reflecting strong balance sheet. Pioneer Natural Resources has an encouraging earnings surprise history despite persistent weak commodity prices. The oil & gas exploration and production firm was able to beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate in three of the last four quarters with an average positive earnings surprise of 46.74%.”

Quintiles Transitional Holdings (NYSE:Q) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a hold rating to a buy rating. They currently have $107.00 price target on the stock. According to Zacks, “Quintiles Transnational Holdings Inc. provides professional services, information and partnering solutions to the pharmaceutical services, biotechnology and healthcare industries. The Company has two segments: Product Development and Integrated Healthcare Services. It offers project management, clinical monitoring services, strategic planning and design services, consulting services contract sales, market entry/market exit, integrated channel management, patient engagement, market access and commercialization consulting, brand and scientific communication, and medical education services; outcome/observational services. The Company operates in Americas, Europe and Africa, and the Asia-Pacific. Quintiles Transnational Holdings Inc. is based in Durham, North Carolina. “

Quantum Corporation (NYSE:QTM) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a sell rating to a hold rating. According to Zacks, “Quantum is a leading expert in scale-out storage, archive and data protection, providing solutions for capturing, sharing and preserving digital assets over the entire data lifecycle. From small businesses to major enterprises, more than 100,000 customers have trusted Quantum to address their most demanding data workflow challenges. With Quantum, customers can be certain they have the end-to-end storage foundation to maximize the value of their data by making it accessible whenever and wherever needed, retaining it indefinitely and reducing total cost and complexity. “

QuickLogic Corporation (NASDAQ:QUIK) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a sell rating to a hold rating. According to Zacks, “QuickLogic Corporation is a semiconductor provider of ultra-low power, comprehensive, flexible sensor processing solutions enabling significantly longer battery life for the Smartphone, Wearable, and IoT markets. They are the only company integrating multi-core processing, programmable logic, sensor fusion and context aware algorithms, and embedded software. QuickLogic accelerates the pace of innovation for always-on motion, light, environmental, location, and voice-enabled user experiences. “

Ra Pharmctl (NASDAQ:RARX) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a sell rating to a hold rating. According to Zacks, “Ra Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is a biopharmaceutical company. It involved in the discovery and development of novel therapeutics for the treatment of diseases caused by excessive or uncontrolled activation of the complement system. Ra Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. “

Koninklijke DSM (NASDAQ:RDSMY) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a sell rating to a hold rating. According to Zacks, “DSM N V ADR is involved in the Chemicals Industry. Their main focus is on base materials, performance materials, materials processing, base chemicals and fine chemicals and coating resins. They are also involved in the exploration and development of oil and natural gas deposits in the North Sea, as well as the licensing of chemical technology and know-how; in addition the company produces ingredients for bakery products. DSM is a world market leader in a number of products, including caprolactam, melamine and EPDM synthetic rubber. “

Royal Mail Plc (OTCMKTS:ROYMF) was upgraded by analysts at UBS AG from a sell rating to a neutral rating.

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