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

Core Laboratories N.V. (NYSE:CLB) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a sell rating to a hold rating. According to Zacks, “Core Laboratories boasts of a unique business model, disciplined financial management and technological expertise. We also like CLB's leadership position in the reservoir optimization niche, along with its global footprint and deep portfolio of proprietary products and services. CLB’s low asset intensive operations and limited capex needs allow it to generate substantial free cash flows and operate profitably even in this low commodity price environment. However, we are concerned of the company’s high leverage and paucity of deepwater drilling orders which might hamper the specialized service provider’s near-term results. Therefore, until the commodity price environment improves, we take a cautious stance on the prospects of the stock.”

Consolidated Water Co. (NASDAQ:CWCO) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a sell rating to a hold rating. According to Zacks, “Year to dates shares of Consolidated Water Co. have gained higher than the industry. Consolidated Water Co. is presently utilizing the most advanced technology to convert seawater to potable water. Apart from expanding organically, the company is also working to broaden its operation through strategic acquisition. Hurricane Irma has affected operations of the company’s water treatment plants due to power outages and will have an adverse impact on earnings in the third quarter. In addition, risk of losing major customer accounts or failure to renew long term contracts with major customers as well as foreign exchange fluctuation are other headwinds for the company.”

Dollar Tree (NASDAQ:DLTR) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a hold rating to a buy rating. Zacks Investment Research currently has $100.00 target price on the stock. According to Zacks, “Dollar Tree raised its fiscal 2017 view after posting strong numbers for the second quarter. Further, Dollar Tree has been gaining from its integration of Family Dollar, which is contributing significantly to the company’s results. This has helped the stock to surpass the industry year to date. It also helped Dollar Tree to achieve comps growth for the 38th straight time in the second quarter, wherein both the top and bottom line grew year over year and topped the Zacks Consensus mark. Apart from solid performance at stores, growth of the company’s online business – Dollar Tree Direct also fueled results. Moreover, reduced merchandise and freight costs, as well as lower markdowns boosted margins. Based on these results and expected benefits from Family Dollar, management remains confident of the second half. However, volatile consumer behavior remains a concern for Dollar Tree. Also, significant global exposure may pose threats.”

Endo International PLC (NASDAQ:ENDP) (TSE:ENL) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a hold rating to a buy rating. The firm currently has $9.75 price target on the stock. According to Zacks, “Endo’s top line should continue to benefit from robust performance of Xiaflex and sterile injectables. Endo has centralized and streamlined its supply chain, quality and compliance organization in order to create a more cohesive and efficient structure. The company plans to close its Huntsville, Alabama manufacturing and distribution facilities over the next 12 to 18 months due to declining volumes of commoditized products that affected the Huntsville location. The company expects to transfer majority of the products to other sites while discontinuing approximately 15 products starting in the fourth quarter of 2017 and continuing through 2018. This restructuring is intended to better match manufacturing capacity to projected future demand. However, headwinds in the form of declining generics base business and the legacy branded pain franchise remain. Shares have significantly underperformed the industry so far in 2017.”

Enersys (NYSE:ENS) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a strong sell rating to a hold rating. According to Zacks, “EnerSys has a decent earnings surprise history with three strong beats over the trailing four quarters. Going forward, we believe that positive industry trend and strong sales of products, like lead chargers and battery management systems, will drive growth of Motive business. EnerSys’ long-term growth drivers include higher demand for premium products, lean initiatives, robust prospects in Asia, cost reduction programs and strategic product launches. However, on the flip side, EnerSys’ shares have yielded a negative return over the past six months, comparing unfavorably to the industry’s average positive return. Of late, volatility in cost of commodities (especially lead) has weighed upon the company’s profitability. In addition, currency fluctuations and stiff competition in the industry are also eroding the company’s profits.”

Fifth Third Bancorp (NASDAQ:FITB) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a hold rating to a buy rating. They currently have $32.00 target price on the stock. According to Zacks, “Shares of Fifth Third have outperformed the industry over the past six months. The performance was supported by the company’s impressive earnings surprise history. It surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate for earnings in three of the trailing four quarters. The company’s ongoing strategic efforts, such as Project North Star, will likely boost its efficiency and revenue over the long run. Also, margin pressure seems to be easing gradually, given the Fed interest rate hikes and improving economic backdrop. Fifth Third’s growing deposits base look encouraging. However, elevated expenses on the company’s branch digitization initiative and legal issues remain a concern.”

Hess Corporation (NYSE:HES) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a hold rating to a buy rating. Zacks Investment Research currently has $50.00 price target on the stock. According to Zacks, “Hess is among the leading producers of crude in the Bakken oil shale play in North Dakota. The company has interests in the best areas of the play. With the projection of healthy oil price following the possibility that OPEC might extend the production cut deal beyond March 2018, we believe that Bakken play should contribute to the company’s production growth in the long run. Hess declared new oil discovery from the Payara-1 well located off the coast of Guyana. The project may add significant value in the coming years.  Also, the company has a strong earnings surprise history. Hess’ earnings beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate in three of the last four quarters, with an average positive earnings surprise of 2.6%.”

KBR (NYSE:KBR) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a sell rating to a hold rating. According to Zacks, “KBR’s Government Services business is experiencing stellar growth and the company remains confident that recent acquisitions will continue to accelerate growth momentum of this business. Organic growth from contracts with the U.S. Military proved to be the main driving force for the top-line improvement. The company’s acquisitions in the Government Services segment continued to accelerate growth of the business. In addition, KBR is optimistic about backlog growth in the fourth quarter and early 2018 due to the pipeline of opportunities. On the flip side, the long-cycle nature of the contracts, volatility in material & equipment pricing, risk of client loss and stiff competition raise caution. Over the past one year, KBR’s shares have underperformed the industry’s average gain significantly. Moreover, KBR continues to incur high general and administrative expenses which are about $4-$5 million above the normative level.”

Lions Gate Entertainment Co. Class A Voting Shares (NASDAQ:LGF.A) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a hold rating to a strong-buy rating. They currently have $35.00 target price on the stock. According to Zacks, “Lions Gate Entertainment has outpaced the industry in the past three months. The company had an encouraging start to the fiscal 2018, with both earnings and revenues not only surpassing the Zacks Consensus Estimate but also increasing year over year. In an effort to maximize returns and build a diversified portfolio, it has been making strategic investments and buyouts, such as that of Starz. Notably, the addition of Starz is aiding Lions Gate to emerge as a major player in the TV space and helping it regain lost ground in streaming network. Moreover, Lions Gate has invested in The Immortals, to capitalize on the increasing popularity of eSports. It expects eSports market to grow over $1 billion by the next year. However, fewer movie releases in fiscal 2018 compared with the previous year may hurt Motion Pictures revenue performance. Dismal television production performance in the past few quarters has been also a concern for investors.”

Patterson-UTI Energy (NASDAQ:PTEN) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a hold rating to a buy rating. Zacks Investment Research currently has $23.00 price target on the stock. According to Zacks, “Patterson-UTI Energy is one of the largest North American land drilling contractor, having a large, high-quality fleet of drilling rigs. The company’s technologically advanced ‘Apex’ rigs are the key to its success. Patterson-UTI’s proprietary design makes the rigs move faster than conventional rigs, drill quicker and more efficiently than conventional rigs, and allows for a safer operating environment. As such, these rigs are better suited for the new demands of the exploration business and, therefore, command higher dayrates and utilization than rigs from other land drillers. We believe Patterson-UTI's acquisition of smaller rival Seventy Seven Energy will bolster its scale and customer base, while helping to enhance its geographic footprint to most active basins in the U.S. “

Pretium Resources (NYSE:PVG) (TSE:PVG) was upgraded by analysts at Scotiabank from a sector perform rating to an outperform rating.

RCI Hospitality Holdings (NASDAQ:RICK) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a sell rating to a hold rating. According to Zacks, “RCI Hospitality Holdings, Inc. owns and/or operates adult nightclubs that offer live adult entertainment, restaurant, and bar services. It operates adult nightclubs under the name Rick’s Cabaret, Club Onyx, XTC Cabaret, Tootsie’s Cabaret, Cabaret North, Jaguars and Cabaret East. The Company also owns and operates adult Internet Websites. RCI Hospitality Holdings, Inc., formerly known as Rick’s Cabaret International, Inc., is based in Houston, Texas. “

Rockwell Medical (NASDAQ:RMTI) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a sell rating to a hold rating. According to Zacks, “Rockwell Medical Technologies, Inc. manufactures hemodialysis concentrates and dialysis kits, and sells, distributes and delivers such concentrates and dialysis kits, as well as other ancillary hemodialysis products, to hemodialysis providers in the United States. Hemodialysis is a process which is able to duplicate kidney function in patients whose kidneys have failed to function properly. “

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

Retail Properties of America (NYSE:RPAI) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a hold rating to a buy rating. They currently have $15.00 price target on the stock. According to Zacks, “Retail Properties of America, Inc. is a real estate investment trust that owns and operates shopping centers in the United States. Its retail-operating portfolio includes power centers, community centers, neighborhood centers, lifestyle centers and single-user retail properties. The Company’s retail properties are primarily located in retail districts. Retail Properties of America, Inc. is headquartered in Oak Brook, IL. “

RSP Permian (NYSE:RSPP) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a hold rating to a buy rating. They currently have $38.00 price target on the stock. According to Zacks, “RSP Permian, Inc. is engaged in the acquisition, exploration, development and production of unconventional oil and associated liquids-rich natural gas reserves primarily in the Permian Basin of West Texas. RSP Permian, Inc. is based in Dallas, United States. “

Salem Media Group (NASDAQ:SALM) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a sell rating to a hold rating. According to Zacks, “Salem Media Group, Inc. is a radio broadcaster, Internet content provider and magazine and book publisher specializing in Christian and Conservative content. Its operating segment consists of Broadcast, Digital Media and Publishing. Broadcasting segment is engaged in the ownership and operation of radio stations in metropolitan markets. Digital Media segment focuses on Web-based platform designed. Publishing segment consists of Regnery Publishing, Xulon Press and Salem Publishing. Salem Media Group, Inc., formerly known as Salem Communications Corporation, is headquartered in Camarillo, California. “

Strongbridge Biopharma PLC (NASDAQ:SBBP) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a sell rating to a hold rating. According to Zacks, “Strongbridge Biopharma PLC is a biopharmaceutical company which develops, acquires and commercializes product candidates that target rare diseases. Its product candidate consists of COR-003, is a cortisol inhibitor, for the treatment of endogenous Cushing’s syndrome, COR-004 and COR-005 to treat acromegaly, BP-2001, the treatment of diabetes which are in different clinical trial. Strongbridge Biopharma PLC is based in Trevose, Pennsylvania. “

Star Bulk Carriers Corp. (NASDAQ:SBLK) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a sell rating to a hold rating. According to Zacks, “STAR BULK is a global shipping company providing worldwide seaborne transportation solutions in the dry bulk sector. Star Bulk’s vessels transport major bulks, which include iron ore, coal and grain and minor bulks such as bauxite, fertilizers and steel products. Star Bulk was incorporated in the Marshall Islands and is headquartered in Athens, Greece. Its common stock and warrants trade on the NASDAQ Global Market under the symbols SBLK and SBLKW respectively. Currently, Star Bulk has an operating fleet of nine dry bulk carriers, plus definitive agreement to acquire two further dry bulk carriers. “

SandRidge Energy (NYSE:SD) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a sell rating to a hold rating. According to Zacks, “SandRidge Energy, Inc. is an oil and natural gas company. It engaged in the development and production activities of oil and gas. The company’s operating segment consists of Exploration and Production, Drilling and Oil Field Services and Midstream Gas Services. Exploration and Production segment is engaged in the acquisition, development and production of oil and natural gas properties. Drilling and Oil Field Services segment is engaged in the contract drilling of oil and natural gas wells. Midstream Gas Services segment is engaged in the purchasing, gathering, treating and selling of natural gas. SandRidge Energy, Inc. is headquartered in Oklahoma City, OK. “

Sage Group Unspon (NASDAQ:SGPYY) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a sell rating to a hold rating. According to Zacks, “The Sage Group plc supplies business management software, services and support to small and medium sized businesses. The Company’s products includes accounting, payroll, customer relationship management, financial forecasting, payment processing, job costing, human resources, business intelligence, taxation and other products for accountants, business stationery, development platforms, e-business and enterprise resource planning. Sage Group’s products find its application in the healthcare, human resource and payroll, construction/real estate, transport/distribution, payment processing, accountancy, manufacturing, retail, and automotive distribution industries. The products offered by the Company are majorly developed and supported locally. The Sage Group plc is headquartered in Newcastle upon Tyne, the United Kingdom. “

Surgery Partners (NASDAQ:SGRY) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a strong sell rating to a hold rating. According to Zacks, “Surgery Partners, Inc. is a healthcare services company. The Company’s outpatient delivery model focused on providing solutions for surgical and related ancillary care in support of its patients and physicians. Its operating segment consists of Surgical Facility Services segment, Ancillary Services segment and Optical Services segment. Surgery Partners, Inc. is based in Nashville, Tennessee. “

Sky Plc (NASDAQ:SKYAY) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a sell rating to a hold rating. According to Zacks, “Sky plc offers entertainment and communications service. The Company offers Sky TV, on demand television programs; Sky Broadband offers broadband and telephony services; NOW TV is a streaming service and provides access to the Sky’s content; Sky Sports’ channels broadcast live sport, news and analysis, from football and golf to cricket and tennis; Sky Entertainment offers entertainment channels Sky 1, Sky Living, Sky Atlantic and Sky Arts; Sky News provides news and analysis; Sky Media is an advertising sales house and offers advertisers access to television channels; Sky Business provides Sky’s television and WiFi services; Sky Bet offers online betting and gaming services. Sky plc formerly known as British Sky Broadcasting Group plc is based in Isleworth, the United Kingdom. “

Solar Capital (NASDAQ:SLRC) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a sell rating to a hold rating. According to Zacks, “Solar Capital Ltd. is a closed-end investment company that invests primarily in leveraged companies, including middle market companies, in the form of senior secured loans, mezzanine loans, and equity securities. “

Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation (NYSE:SMI) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a sell rating to a hold rating. According to Zacks, “SEMICONDUCTOR MANUFACTURING INTERNATIONAL CORPORATION is one of the leading semiconductor foundries in the world and the largest and most advanced foundry in Mainland China, providing integrated circuit manufacturing service at 0.35 micron to 65 nanometer and finer line technologies. Headquartered in Shanghai, China, SMIC has a 300-millimeter wafer fabrication facility (fab) and three 200 mm wafer fabs in its Shanghai mega-fab, two 300 mm wafer fabs in its Beijing mega-fab, a 200 mm wafer fab in Tianjin, and an in-house assembly and testing facility in Chengdu. SMIC also has customer service and marketing offices in the U.S., Europe, and Japan, and a representative office in Hong Kong. In addition, SMIC manages and operates a 200 mm wafer fab in Chengdu owned by Cension Semiconductor Manufacturing Corporation and a 300 mm wafer fab under construction in Wuhan owned by Wuhan Xinxin Semiconductor Manufacturing Corporation. “

Sotherly Hotels (NASDAQ:SOHO) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a sell rating to a hold rating. According to Zacks, “SoTHERLY Hotels Inc. is a real estate investment trust. It is focused on the acquisition, renovation and upbranding and repositioning of upscale to upper upscale full-service hotels primarily in the Mid-Atlantic and Southern United States. The Company’s properties operate under the Hilton Worldwide, InterContinental Hotels Group and Starwood Hotels and Resorts brands. SoTHERLY Hotels Inc., formerly known as MHI Hospitality Corporation, is headquartered in Williamsburg, Virginia. “

Sapiens International Corporation N.V. (NASDAQ:SPNS) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a sell rating to a hold rating. According to Zacks, “SAPIENS INTL NV is a leading global provider of proven IT solutions that modernize business processes and enable insurance organizations and other leading companies to adapt quickly to change. Serving as consultants and advisors, Sapiens works with companies to analyze their current systems and develop a blueprint for aligning technology with business goals. The company focuses on delivering innovative solutions that allow companies to build on existing IT assets. “

Spirit Aerosystems Holdings (NYSE:SPR) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a hold rating to a buy rating. They currently have $89.00 price target on the stock. According to Zacks, “SPIRIT AEROSYSTEMS is the world’s largest independent supplier of commercial airplane assemblies and components. In addition to its Kansas facility, Spirit has operations in Tulsa and McAlester, Okla., Prestwick, Scotland, and Samlesbury, England. In the U.S., Spirit’s core products include fuselages, pylons, nacelles and wing components. Additionally, Spirit provides aftermarket customer support services, including spare parts, maintenance/repair/overhaul, and fleet support services in North America and Europe. Spirit Europe produces wing components for a host of customers, including Airbus. “

Sprague Resources (NYSE:SRLP) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a strong sell rating to a hold rating. According to Zacks, “Sprague Resources LP operates as suppliers of energy and materials handling services. The Company stores, distributes, and sells refined petroleum products and natural gas. Its products include home heating oil, diesel fuels, residual fuels, gasoline and natural gas. Sprague Resources LP is based in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. “

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