Investment Analysts’ upgrades for Thursday, November 2nd:

Deere & (NYSE:DE) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a hold rating to a buy rating. They currently have $150.00 price target on the stock. According to Zacks, “Deere expects net sales to grow about 11% year over year and projects net income to be roughly $2.1 billion in fiscal 2017. The company will gain from continued strength in income growth and food demand, growing investment in construction and improvement in Brazil. The pending Wirtgen acquisition will aid Deere’s North America-centric construction business expand to a global scale. Deere will also gain from the recently acquired Blue River Technology. The buyout will bolster its position in precision agriculture. Its estimates have been undergoing positive revisions over the past two months. The company has a positive record of earnings surprises in recent quarters. The stock has outperformed the industry in the last year.”

Ecolab (NYSE:ECL) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a sell rating to a hold rating. According to Zacks, “Ecolab’s third-quarter 2017 earnings and revenues surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate. The beats came on the back of business gains and better pricing, which more than offset higher delivery product costs. Strength in the Global Institutional segment led by growth in the Specialty and Healthcare business lines is a positive.We believe a robust product portfolio and expanding customer base will drive organic sales over the long haul. Year to date, Ecolab has outperformed the industry. On the flipside, the company expects a significant impact of the hurricanes on fourth-quarter sales and costs. Ecolab operates in highly competitive markets, which might mar its prospects over the long haul. We believe volatility in foreign currency exchange rates will remain a significant headwind for the company. Ecolab faces pricing pressure in the Energy segment which is likely to hurt profits. “

First Data Corporation (NYSE:FDC) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a sell rating to a hold rating. According to Zacks, “First Data Corporation  is a commerce-enabling technology and solutions company. The company's third-quarter 2017 earnings matched the Zacks Consensus Estimate and increased year over year. First Data’s focus on globalizing its offerings, acquisitions and strategic partnerships and a healthy business around large and small banks are positives. However, the company is subject to seasonality and foreign exchange risk and has no intention of paying cash dividend at present. Year to date, the stock has outperformed the  industry it belongs to. “

Garmin (NASDAQ:GRMN) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a hold rating to a buy rating. They currently have $67.00 target price on the stock. According to Zacks, “Garmin is an OEM of GPS-based and other electronic devices. The company reported better-than-expected third-quarter 2017 results with revenues and earnings surpassing our estimates. marine, outdoor and aviation segments. Auto and Fitness segment revenues declined year over year. The company's strategy involves a constantly evolving product line supported by a platform approach that increases engagement with its products and focuses on building a community of users. A solid portfolio of new products across segments, secular drivers in the aviation market, market share gains in the marine market and contributions from acquisitions are other positives. However, weak personal navigation device (PND) market and additional revenue deferrals remain headwinds. Year to date, the stock has underperformed the industry it belongs to.”

Honda Motor (NYSE:HMC) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a sell rating to a hold rating. According to Zacks, “Honda’s earnings and revenues beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate in the second quarter. Compared with the year-ago figures, the company’s earnings per share were lower, whereas the revenues were higher. Also, per its Vision 2030 strategy plan, the company has plans to introduce new electric and self-driving vehicles in the market. The company is increasingly focused on infrastructural development in North and South America with an aim to increase productions and boost it sales. Further, to expand its business, the company is undertaking frequent collaborations with many companies. However, higher R&D expenses, foreign currency fluctuations, frequent safety recalls and weak income guidance for 2018 are a few concerns for the company. Also, in the last six months, Honda’s shares have underperformed the industry it belongs to.”

iRobot Corporation (NASDAQ:IRBT) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a hold rating to a buy rating. Zacks Investment Research currently has $75.00 target price on the stock. According to Zacks, “iRobot’s shares have underperformed and looks overvalued compared to the industry in the last three-month period. However, we note that the company’s third-quarter 2017 earnings of 60 cents per share surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 36.4%. This upside stemmed from a robust home robotics business in all end markets across the United States, Europe and the EMEA region. The company believes that a sturdy demand, meaningful innovation investments and the planned Robiolas buyout would boost its results in the quarters ahead.”

Iron Mountain (NYSE:IRM) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a sell rating to a hold rating. According to Zacks, “Iron Mountain’s third quarter 2017 FFO missed estimates but showed a year-over-year improvement. The company is investing a lot in setting up its data center business.  It recently acquired FORTRUST for $128 million. The costs of such initiatives weigh on its financials, especially as the company already has a highly leveraged balance sheet.  The company’s services business revenues also remain modest. Besides, forex fluctuations, fragmented nature of the industry and stiff competition continue to be overhangs. However, shares have outperformed the industry in the past one year.  Revenues this quarter were driven by synergies from Recall Holdings acquisition, transformation initiatives and continued strong performance of its storage rental business. Aggressive acquisitions along with diversified revenue base, a strong product portfolio and cost cutting initiatives bode well for long-term growth.”

Kimberly-Clark Corporation (NYSE:KMB) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a sell rating to a hold rating. According to Zacks, “Kimberly-Clark’s shares have lagged the industry in the last six months due to lower-than-expected top-line performance, softness in North American consumer products and higher competitive activity. Recently, the company reported third-quarter 2017 financial numbers wherein earnings surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate but sales lagged the same for the eighth straight quarter. However, the company is well positioned overseas and has been consistently expanding in developing and emerging markets. In third-quarter 2017, organic sales in emerging markets increased 3%. The company’s higher cost savings, continued product innovation, strong international presence have been the catalysts, and are expected to drive growth. Meanwhile, the company also anticipates performance to be hurt by higher input cost inflation. Further, increased competitive activity has also been hurting Kimberly-Clark’s diaper segment sales.”

Masimo Corporation (NASDAQ:MASI) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a hold rating to a buy rating. They currently have $98.00 price target on the stock. According to Zacks, “Over the past one year, Masimo has outperformed the broader industry with respect to price. Going forward, we believe the company's expanding product portfolio is a key catalyst. Wider adoption of its non-invasive patient monitoring technology will help the company gain market traction. Masimo’s SET pulse oximetry business represents considerable growth opportunities in international markets. Moreover, the FDA 510 (k) approval for the Radius 7 wearable and the O3 regional oximetry device are significant positives. On the flipside, unsatisfactory performance by the Rainbow product segment in the third quarter is a concern. Masimo also looks a tad bit expensive at the moment. Furthermore, the company faces fierce competition from OEM distributors and medical devices bigwigs that might mar its top line over the long haul. However Masimo reported solid third-quarter of 2017 results, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate for both the counts.”

QEP Resources (NYSE:QEP) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a hold rating to a buy rating. They currently have $11.00 target price on the stock. According to Zacks, “With a diversified asset base, exposure to emerging plays and increased focus on the quality acreage of the prolific Permian Basin, this mid-cap onshore-focused E&P offers a compelling value. QEP Resources has maintained its excellent track record of earnings surprise history, beating estimates in each of the last eleven quarters. Since its split from Questar Corp. in 2010, QEP has established a strong track record of production growth, while maintaining a competitive cost structure that has enabled the company to maintain its margins amid low oil prices. With focus on operating efficiency, a robust balance sheet and ample liquidity, we believe QEP is well positioned going forward and view it as an attractive investment.”

Sonic Automotive (NYSE:SAH) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a strong sell rating to a hold rating. According to Zacks, “Sonic Automotive registered adjusted earnings per share of 40 cents in third-quarter 2017, in-line with the Zacks Consensus Estimate.  Total revenues in the quarter missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate. The company is expanding its network of stores to boost sales. Also, the company actively pursues capital deployment strategies to boost shareholder value. The company plans to offset dilution caused by equity compensation awards through regular share repurchase programs. It is expected that over the long term, the company has the ability to enhance service capacity and raise revenues. However, weakness in the Houston market, where Sonic Automotive has considerable exposure, is also likely to adversely impact its sales and profit. In the last six months, the company's shares have underperformed in the industry it belongs to.”

Sirius XM Holdings (NASDAQ:SIRI) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a hold rating to a buy rating. Zacks Investment Research currently has $6.00 price target on the stock. According to Zacks, “Shares of Sirius XM have outperformed its industry so far this year. Ushering in further good news, the company reported better-than-expected earnings per share and revenues in the third quarter of 2017. Both metrics also improved on a year-over-year basis. Additionally, healthy net subscriber growth is a positive. The company anticipates 1.4 million net new subscriber addition in 2017. In fact, the company’s decision to raise its full-year 2017 guidance for revenue, adjusted EBITDA and free cash flow is impressive. It expects revenues of approximately $5.4 billion in 2017, slightly higher than its previous expectation of $5.37 billion. Adjusted EBITDA guidance is expected to be around $2.1 billion (previous guidance: $2.05 billion). Free cash flow is expected to be approximately $1.54 billion (previous outlook: $1.5 billion). However, high costs hurt the company's bottom line in third-quarter. Its high debt levels are also concerning.”

TE Connectivity (NYSE:TEL) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a sell rating to a buy rating. The firm currently has $103.00 target price on the stock. According to Zacks, “TE Connectivity reported fourth-quarter fiscal 2017 earnings per share of $1.25 cents, which topped the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 7.8%, owing to the decent top-line performance. TE Connectivity has a striking earnings surprise history over the four trailing quarters, beating estimates all through. Moreover, the stock has outperformed the industry average in a year. It expects transportation business to experience significant organic growth, fueled by rise in global auto production and impressive heavy truck business in key end markets. Further, its Communications and Industrial segments are witnessing strong performance, thus stoking growth. However, sluggish industrial markets and derivative impact of lower oil prices are posing as major headwinds, thwarting growth. Moreover, adverse currency fluctuations and high restructuring expenses might hurt the company’s performance.”

WellCare Health Plans (NYSE:WCG) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a hold rating to a buy rating. Zacks Investment Research currently has $221.00 target price on the stock. According to Zacks, “WellCare Health’s third-quarter 2017 earnings not only outpaced the Zacks Consensus Estimate but also increased significantly from the previous-year quarter on the back of strong results across its all three business lines. Its shares have outperformed the industry in a year’s time. Its robust inorganic growth is impressive. The company’s healthy balance sheet continues to support its operational excellence. Wellcare Health has also been witnessing revenue growth over the last six years. Following the strong third-quarter  results, the company raised its guidance for 2017. However, its rising level of debt hurts the bottom line. Continuous increase in the total expenses also weighs on the margins.”

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