Analysts’ upgrades for Thursday, October 12th:

Arch Capital Group (NASDAQ:ACGL) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a sell rating to a hold rating. According to Zacks, “Arch Capital has a strong product portfolio and has been maintaining an exemplary track record of premium growth. This apart, the company has been making efforts to diversify its Mortgage Insurance business through strategic acquisitions. Moreover, the insurer remains focused in boosting shareholders’ value. However, its exposure to catastrophe losses poses an inherent risk to the P&C business, inducing volatility in underwriting results. Also, a still low interest rate environment and intense competition concerns. Moreover, shares of Arch Capital have underperformed the industry in the last three months. Also, the company has seen its 2017 and 2018 estimates moving south over the last 60 days.”

Alimentation Couche Tard (TSE:ATD.B) was upgraded by analysts at Eight Capital from a neutral rating to a buy rating.

Discovery Communications (NASDAQ:DISCA) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a sell rating to a hold rating. According to Zacks, “Shares of Discovery Communications have underperformed its industry on a year-to-date basis. In fact, the company has been struggling with declining advertisement revenues for quite some time. Adverse foreign currency movements are also hurting the company. Discovery is also a highly leveraged company. Moreover, high costs are expected to hurt bottom-line in the third quarter. Detailed results will be available on Nov 2. The company's decision to buy Scripps Networks is, however, a positive. On materialization, the deal is expected to broaden Discovery's product portfolio, substantially. Discovery's new joint venture with TEN for automotive media is also encouraging. The move marks Discovery's entry into direct-to-consumer offerings. In the face of stiff competition and dwindling advertisement revenues, the media sector is witnessing large scale concentration. “

ITT (NYSE:ITT) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a hold rating to a buy rating. The firm currently has $51.00 target price on the stock. According to Zacks, “ITT Inc. has a robust earnings surprise history, having beaten estimates thrice in the trailing four quarters. The company’s bottom line is expected to benefit from improved operating efficiency and successful cost containment actions. Going forward, the company expects its rail and auto businesses to act as major growth drivers, fuelled by increase by recent acquisitions and growth in the aftermarket brake pad business. Further, ITT Inc.’s shares have outperformed the industry average over the past year. Also, the company has achieved operational excellence through its Lean Six Sigma program, restructuring initiatives and global sourcing efforts. However, softness in industrial, oil & gas markets and aerospace and defense business is expected to affect client spending adversely, thus restricting the company’s growth to a great extent.”

Ligand Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:LGND) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a hold rating to a strong-buy rating. The firm currently has $165.00 price target on the stock. According to Zacks, “Ligand’s Captisol formulation technology has resulted in partnerships with several leading drug companies like Novartis and Amgen that provide it with funds in the form of milestone and royalty payments. Moreover, with regard to Ligand's internal pipeline, there are several candidates in development that could bring in future licensing opportunities. Nonetheless, Ligand’s entry into the Medical Devices Segment with the acquisition of multiple programs owned by CorMatrix is also encouraging. Shares of Ligand have outperformed the broader industry this year so far. However, the company derives a substantial portion of its revenues from royalties associated with the sales of Promacta and Kyprolis. Any setback related to either of these two products could have a substantial impact. Estimates have remained stable ahead of the Q3 earnings. The company has a mixed record of earnings surprises in the recent quarters.”

Pretium Resources (TSE:PVG) (NYSE:PVG) was upgraded by analysts at Scotiabank from a sector perform rating to an outperform rating. The firm currently has C$17.00 target price on the stock, up from their previous target price of C$16.50.

ResMed (NYSE:RMD) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a hold rating to a buy rating. Zacks Investment Research currently has $86.00 target price on the stock. According to Zacks, “ResMed achieved strong global revenue growth over the past few quarters, led by sales of sleep devices, respiratory care devices, mask systems and software solutions. Also, Brightree has acted as a significant contributor to the company’s operating results through 2017. Notably, we believe, ResMed’s product launches and strategies to gain traction in the SDB market are expected to boost its performance further in the near term. Also, its recent published favorable study result on COPD buoys optimism. Over the last six months, ResMed has been observed to trade above the broader industry. However, we remain skeptical on certain fundamental factors that may weigh down the stock. In this regard, challenges like competitive bidding and reimbursement issues continue to plague the stock. Rising operating expenses and a weak operating margin are other major woes for ResMed.”

SLM Corporation (NASDAQ:SLM) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a sell rating to a hold rating. According to Zacks, “Shares of Sallie Mae have underperformed the industry over the past six months. Yet, the company has a decent earnings surprise history. It has surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate for earnings in two of the trailing four quarters. The company’s focus on strengthening its Private Education Loan assets and revenues along with maintaining a strong capital position bode well for the long term. Also, the economic recovery and declining unemployment rate should help it maintain its leading position in the student lending market. However, a competitive business environment and consistently increasing expenses remain near-term concerns. Further, Sallie Mae faces concentration risk due to over dependence on brokered deposits. Also, stretched valuation indicates limited upside potential in the stock.”

Zalando Se (NASDAQ:ZLNDY) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a sell rating to a hold rating. According to Zacks, “Zalando SE is an online fashion retailer. The Company offers clothing, sports products, shoes, bags and other accessories for men, women and children. Zalando SE is headquartered in Berlin, Germany. “

Zto Express (NYSE:ZTO) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a sell rating to a hold rating. According to Zacks, “ZTO Express Inc. is an express delivery company. It provides express delivery service through its nationwide network as well as other value-added logistics services. The Company offers route planning and optimization, waybill tracking system and transportation management system. ZTO Express Inc. is based in Shanghai, China. “

Zoetis (NYSE:ZTS) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a hold rating to a buy rating. The firm currently has $71.00 price target on the stock. According to Zacks, “Growth at Zoetis is being driven by industry-leading dermatology portfolio consisting of Apoquel and Cytopoint and new oral parasiticide Simparica. Sales of companion animal products are being further boosted by further penetration of new products in key countries outside of the U.S. such as Japan, Brazil, and Canada while growth in livestock portfolio was balanced across the U.S. and international business segments. However, swine performance is being impacted by competition from Fostera. The recent acquisition of Nexvet Biopharma will further strengthen Zoetis’ chronic pain management franchise. Shares of Zoetis have outperformed the industry in 2017 so far. However, Zoetis faces stiff competition from companies like Merck Animal Health (the animal health division of Merck), Elanco.”

Zymeworks (NASDAQ:ZYME) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a sell rating to a hold rating. According to Zacks, “Zymeworks Inc. is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company. It engages in the discovery, development, and commercialization of bio-therapeutics for the treatment of cancer in Canada. The companys lead product candidate includes ZW25 and ZW33 which are in clinical trial stage. Zymeworks Inc. is headquartered in Vancouver, Canada. “

Zynerba Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:ZYNE) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a hold rating to a buy rating. The firm currently has $11.00 target price on the stock. According to Zacks, “Zynerba Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is a specialty pharmaceutical company which focuses on developing and commercializing proprietary synthetic cannabinoid therapeutics formulated for transdermal delivery. Its product candidates which are in clinical trial stage include ZYN002 and ZYN001 synthetic transdermal cannabinoid therapeutics for indications including refractory epilepsy, Fragile X syndrome, osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia and peripheral neuropathic pain. Zynerba Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is headquartered in Devon, Pennsylvania. “

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