Research Analysts’ Upgrades for January, 5th (ADP, ADS, DPZ, FDX, L, MCHP, MCRN, MKL, MODN, OZRK)

Research Analysts’ upgrades for Friday, January 5th:

Automatic Data Processing (NASDAQ:ADP) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a hold rating to a buy rating. They currently have $133.00 target price on the stock. According to Zacks, “ADP is a provider of human capital management solutions and integrated computing solutions to vehicle dealers. We note that the stock has outperformed the industry over the past one year. The company also raised fiscal 2018 guidance for revenues and earnings. We note that ADP holds a dominant position in the payroll processing and human capital management (HCM) market, primarily owing to its robust product portfolio. Moreover, activist investor Bill Ackman recently failed to get a position in the company's board. The overwhelming shareholder support for the existing board reflects strong confidence over management’s strategies, which is expected to drive share price in the near term. Nevertheless, we expect investments in new initiatives will continue to weigh on the company’s bottom-line results. Further, increasing competition is a major headwind.”

Alliance Data Systems (NYSE:ADS) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a hold rating to a buy rating. Zacks Investment Research currently has $296.00 price target on the stock. According to Zacks, “Alliance Data remains well-positioned for growth from significant opportunities owing to the current trend in consumer-based businesses, shifting their marketing spends to data-driven marketing strategies. It has made several strategic acquisitions to grow inorganically. Solid receivables growth in Card Services along with strength in LoyaltyOne and Epsilon segments should continue to drive top-line growth. For 2017, core EPS is expected at $18.10 on $7.8 billion revenues and for 2018, core EPS is projected at $21.50 on revenues of $8.7 billion. However, increasing expenses and dependence on limited clients for revenues, raise concerns. Shares of Alliance Data have underperformed the industry in a year. It is set to release fourth quarter results on Jan 25. A Zacks Rank #2 increases the predictive power of a beat, but combined with the Earnings ESP of -0.94%, makes prediction difficult.”

Domino's Pizza (NYSE:DPZ) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a hold rating to a buy rating. The firm currently has $221.00 price target on the stock. According to Zacks, “Domino's shares have slightly outpaced the industry in the past one year. The company’s solid brand positioning should continue to boost sales in the upcoming quarters. Also, efforts to accelerate its presence in high-growth international markets bode well. In fact, the company’s revenues and earnings surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate in each of the trailing six quarters. Markedly, the third quarter of 2017 marked the 26th and 95th consecutive quarter of positive same-store-sales domestically and internationally, respectively. Going forward, Domino's initiatives on the digital front, increased store counts, focus on re-imaging and other sales boosting strategies are expected to help sustain the momentum. Yet, higher costs and negative currency translation are likely to hurt profits. A soft consumer spending environment in the U.S. restaurant space might limit revenue growth too.”

FedEx (NYSE:FDX) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a hold rating to a buy rating. They currently have $297.00 price target on the stock. According to Zacks, “Shares of FedEx have outperformed its industry in 2017. Ushering in further good news, FedEx experienced a highly successful holiday season driven by increased package volumes. In fact, the strong growth of e-commerce is a huge positive for the company. The new tax law is also expected to aid the company significantly. The company's efforts to reward its shareholders through dividend payments and share buybacks are also encouraging. However, the company's operations have been disrupted by the June 2017 cyberattack. Moreover, high costs are hurting the bottom line. Significant investments at the company's Ground unit are pushing up costs.”

FedEx (NYSE:FDX) was upgraded by analysts at UBS Group AG from a neutral rating to a buy rating.

Loews (NYSE:L) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a hold rating to a buy rating. They currently have $57.00 target price on the stock. According to Zacks, “Shares of Loews have outperformed the industry in a year. Loews Hotels remains on growth track as most properties witnessed a higher income. The Boardwalk unit is poised to capitalize on increasing exports of natural gas and pipeline exports to Mexico as well as industrial demand for natural gas and liquids. Addition of Consolidated Container will strengthen its network of manufacturing locations throughout the U.S. Market. With new drilling rigs that are contracted through 2019 and demand for oil growing, Loews remains optimistic over the medium and long term. However, weakening ultra-deepwater and deepwater markets might dampen Diamond Offshore results. The company witnessed its 2017 estimates moving north while the same for 2018 moved south in the last 60 days.”

Microchip Technology (NASDAQ:MCHP) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a hold rating to a buy rating. They currently have $103.00 target price on the stock. According to Zacks, “Microchip develops and manufacturers microcontrollers, memory and analog and interface products for embedded control systems. Microchip is benefiting from robust demand for 8-bit, 16-bit and 32-bit microcontrollers. We believe that Microchip's expanding product portfolio driven by new launches will continue to expand customer base. Moreover, acquisitions like that of Atmel are likely to expand its geographical presence, augment customer base, extend product portfolio and supplement operational excellence. Notably, shares of the company has outperformed the industry over the past one year. However, increasing lead time due to manufacturing constraints can impact gross margins. Additionally, given its extensive geographical foothold the company is continuously adversely impacted by exchange rate volatility while competition remains headwind.”

Milacron (NYSE:MCRN) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a hold rating to a buy rating. They currently have $21.00 price target on the stock. According to Zacks, “Milacron’s year-to-date orders have gone up 10%, reflecting continued strength in high-growth regions and a solid order book. The company had raised organic sales growth guidance to 3.0-3.5%. Adjusted EBITDA guidance was tightened to $222-$224 million range to reflect higher material input costs and operational inefficiencies in Europe. Milacron’s revenue growth will be supported from underlying market growth in key segments, geographic expansion of certain product lines, consistent penetration of hot runners, and incremental share gain from new products. Cost-reduction initiatives will help boost margins. The company has a positive record of earnings surprises.”

Markel (NYSE:MKL) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a hold rating to a buy rating. They currently have $1,253.00 target price on the stock. According to Zacks, “Shares of Markel have outperformed the industry in a year. It strives to grow via acquisitions and organic initiatives as these not only diversify and strengthen its portfolio but also expand its international footprint. Despite soft market conditions, it continues to deliver solid results banking on the strength of its underwriting, investment and Markel Ventures operations. Markel stands to benefit from insurance, investments and Markel Ventures, which position it well for long-term growth. The latest acquisition of State National Companies will help Markel boost collateral protection insurance coverage capabilities. However, exposure to catastrophe loss will always induce volatility in underwriting results. Escalating expenses weighing on margin expansion remain a concern.”

Model N (NYSE:MODN) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a hold rating to a buy rating. The firm currently has $18.00 target price on the stock. According to Zacks, “Model N is a provider of revenue management solutions for life sciences and technology companies. The successful integration of Revitas boosted Model N’s performance as well as its customer base. Management is also optimistic about the steady progress in the company’s transformation to a 100% Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) based model. Model N has outperformed the industry in the last one year. The Revenue Cloud offering for med-tech, pharma and high tech companies is also gaining traction, driving expansion in customer base. Moreover, the transition to cloud-based applications will drive recurring revenue growth in the long term. However, the company is facing stiff competition as evident from inconsistent revenue growth.”

Bank Of The Ozarks (NASDAQ:OZRK) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a hold rating to a buy rating. Zacks Investment Research currently has $55.00 target price on the stock. According to Zacks, “Shares of Bank of the Ozarks have underperformed the industry over the last six months. Yet, the company has an impressive earnings surprise history, having surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate in three of the trailing four quarters. Consistent growth in loans and deposits, and easing margin pressure along with benefits from lower tax rates will aid the company’s profitability. Also, its efficient capital deployment activities represent a solid balance sheet position. However, persistently rising operating expenses due to the company’s expansion strategy through de novo branching are expected to curb bottom-line growth.”

ProAssurance (NYSE:PRA) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a hold rating to a buy rating. They currently have $63.00 price target on the stock. According to Zacks, “ProAssurance’s core business has been witnessing substantial improvement over the past few quarters. The company has significantly achieved inorganic growth via successful acquisitions and integration of companies. Its top line has also remained strong consistently on the back of solid premium income. However, the shares have underperformed the industry in last three months. Volatility in premium retention in its physician business has impacted its margins adversely. Growing expenses also continue to weigh on the bottom line. Its declining investment income has been affecting the top line.”

Papa John's Int'l (NASDAQ:PZZA) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a strong sell rating to a hold rating. According to Zacks, “Papa John’s commitment to provide quality food is commendable and should continue appealing health-conscious customers. In addition to product innovation, the company is focusing on digital enhancements, brand imaging and improving customer experience. Meanwhile, Papa John’s strategic partnerships, large scale expansion plans and increased focus on franchising bode well too. However, the company’s shares have widely underperformed the industry in the past one year. 2018 earnings estimates have also gone down over the past two months. This reflects an on-going pessimism over the stock’s prospect. Going forward, costs related to sales initiatives coupled with forex headwinds could weigh on profits while a choppy sales environment in the restaurant space may limit revenue growth.”

Restaurant Brands International (NYSE:QSR) (TSE:QSR) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a hold rating to a buy rating. Zacks Investment Research currently has $72.00 price target on the stock. According to Zacks, “Restaurant Brands’ shares have outpaced its industry over the past year. Moreover, 2018 earnings estimates have gone up over the past two months, reflecting analysts’ optimism surrounding the stock. Various sales-boosting initiatives like improving services, reimaging restaurants, menu innovation along with continued expansion should drive the top line. In fact, the company believes that there is opportunity to grow both the Tim Hortons and Burger King brands across the world. The acquisition of Popeye’s also bodes well as it adds a solid brand to its portfolio, which should further ramp up unit growth and aid in reducing costs. The company aims to continue focusing on guest satisfaction and franchisee profitability. However, rising costs along with negative currency translation might dent the company’s profitability, while a soft consumer spending environment could keep comps under pressure.”

ResMed (NYSE:RMD) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a sell rating to a hold rating. According to Zacks, “Challenges like competitive bidding and reimbursement issues continue to plague ResMed. The company also remains exposed to foreign exchange fluctuations. Rising operating expenses and a weak operating margin are other major concerns. However, over the recent past, ResMed has been observed to achieve strong global revenue growth led by sales from Software-as-a-Service businesses as well as its new mask products and devices. We are encouraged to note that the company is working on product innovation through extensive research and development. The company also recently launched the AirFit N20 Classic nasal mask for positive airway pressure (PAP) treatment in Europe. In the past six months, ResMed has traded above the broader industry.”

Charles Schwab (NYSE:SCHW) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a hold rating to a strong-buy rating. Zacks Investment Research currently has $60.00 price target on the stock. According to Zacks, “Schwab’s shares have outperformed the industry in the past six months. The performance was supported by impressive earnings surprise history, as the company did not lag the Zacks Consensus Estimate in any of the trailing four quarters. The company remains well positioned to gain from the rising rate environment. Also, initiatives to strengthen trading income are likely to support its profitability in the long run despite the near-term reduction in the same. While continuous rise in expenses (due to rise in compensation costs) remains a key concern for the company, the benefits from tax act will aid financials.”

SEI Investments (NASDAQ:SEIC) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a hold rating to a strong-buy rating. The firm currently has $84.00 target price on the stock. According to Zacks, “SEI Investments’ shares have significantly outperformed the industry over the last six months. The performance was supported by the company’s impressive earnings surprise history. It surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate for earnings in all the trailing four quarters. The company is well positioned for organic growth, given its innovative and diverse global investment products and services. Given a solid capital position, the company continues to enhance shareholder value through efficient capital deployment activities. However, elevated expenses and increased exposure to fee-based revenues remain major concerns for the company in the near term.”

Silvercorp Metals (NYSEAMERICAN:SVM) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a sell rating to a hold rating. According to Zacks, “Silvercorp Metals, Inc. engages in the acquisition, exploration, development, and mining of precious and base metal mineral properties in the Peoples Republic of China. It explores for silver, gold, lead, and zinc properties. The company primarily operates and develops four Silver-Lead-Zinc mines at the Ying Mining Camp, Henan Province; and the Na-Bao Polymetalic Project in Qinghai Province, China. The company is growing its resource base through continuous exploration of existing projects as well as acquiring new development and exploration projects in multiple jurisdictions. Silvercorp is listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange and the NYSE under the symbol T.SVM and SVM respectively. “

Switch (NYSE:SWCH) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a hold rating to a buy rating. Zacks Investment Research currently has $20.00 target price on the stock. According to Zacks, “Switch, Inc. is a technology infrastructure company. It designs, constructs and operates hyperscale data centers. The Company is developer and operator of the SUPERNAP, data center facilities, and provides colocation, telecommunications, cloud services and content ecosystems. Switch, Inc. is based in LAS VEGAS, United States. “

Southwest Gas (NYSE:SWX) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a hold rating to a buy rating. The firm currently has $90.00 price target on the stock. According to Zacks, “Southwest Gas Holdings, Inc. is an energy holding company based in Las Vegas, Nevada. Southwest Gas Holdings, Inc. owns two primary operating companies, Southwest Gas Corporation and Centuri Construction Group, Inc. Southwest Gas Corporation is a regulated utility and provides natural gas service to more than 1.9 million residential, commercial, and industrial customers in most of Arizona and Nevada, and parts of northeastern and southeastern California. Centuri Construction Group, Inc., is a full-service underground piping contractor that primarily provides utility companies with trenching and installation, replacement, and maintenance services for energy distribution systems, and develops industrial construction solutions. Centuri Construction Group Inc. operates in major markets across the United States and Canada. “

Syros Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:SYRS) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a hold rating to a buy rating. Zacks Investment Research currently has $11.00 target price on the stock. According to Zacks, “Syros Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is a biopharmaceutical company. It focuses on treatments for cancer and immune-mediated diseases as well as building a pipeline of gene control medicines. The company’s product pipeline includes SY-1425, a selective RARa agonist for genomically defined subsets of patients with relapsed or refractory acute myeloid leukemia and relapsed high-risk myelodysplastic syndrome and SY-1365, a selective CDK7 inhibitor for acute leukemia which is in preclinical stage. Syros Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. “

Salzgitter (OTCMKTS:SZGPY) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a hold rating to a buy rating. They currently have $6.50 target price on the stock. According to Zacks, “Salzgitter AG is engaged in the production of steel and steel products. Its operating business unit consists of Strip Steel, Plate/Section Steel, Energy, Trading and Technology. Strip Steel unit produces special and branded steels. Plate/Section Steel unit offers heavy plates. Energy unit covers seamless tubes, seam-and spiral-welded large-diameter pipes, stainless steel tubes as well as seamless and welded precision tubes. Trading unit handles sales network and global trading companies and sales offices. Technology unit focuses on machinery and plants for the filling and packaging of beverages. Salzgitter AG is headquartered in Salzgitter, Germany. “

Territorial Bancorp (NASDAQ:TBNK) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a sell rating to a hold rating. According to Zacks, “Territorial Bancorp, Inc. intends to operate as the bank holding company for Territorial Savings Bank, a federally chartered, FDIC-insured savings bank, which provides financial services to individuals, families, and businesses. Territorial Savings Bank accepts deposits; originates home equity loans and lines of credit, construction, commercial and other non-residential real estate loans, consumer loans, multi-family mortgage loans, and other loans; offers various deposit accounts, including passbook and statement savings accounts, certificates of deposit, money market accounts, commercial and regular checking accounts, and Super NOW accounts; engages in insurance agency activities; and provides various non-deposit investments, such as annuities and mutual funds through a third-party broker-dealer. Territorial Bancorp, Inc. is based in Honolulu, Hawaii with banking offices located throughout the State of Hawaii. “

Telenor ASA (OTCMKTS:TELNY) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a hold rating to a buy rating. The firm currently has $24.00 price target on the stock. According to Zacks, “Telenor ASA is a leading telecommunications company in Norway, which is among the most advanced telecommunications markets in the world. It is a provider of mobile communications services worldwide. The Company has four segments: mobile communication, fixed line communication, TV-based activities (Broadcast), and others. The Telenor Group is dynamic and flexible in its business approach, always exploring new markets and new technologies to make long-term investments. This is part of the reason why Telenor has grown from a national telephone service company in Norway to one of the world’s largest mobile provider. The Telenor Group is now a driving force in the industry, engaging in pioneering research and technology development and other areas that are important to develop the core business of Telenor further. “

TransGlobe Energy (NASDAQ:TGA) (TSE:TGL) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a sell rating to a hold rating. According to Zacks, “TransGlobe Energy Corporation (TGA) is an oil exploration and production company. It is a Calgary-based, growth-oriented oil and gas exploration and development company. TransGlobe is dedicated on improving productivity through promoting good oilfield development and exploitation practices including the implementation of industry leading secondary and tertiary recovery methods as well as improvements to production and transportation infrastructure. The Company conducts its operations through the Arab Republic of Egypt segment. It is primarily engaged in oil exploration, development, production and the acquisition of properties. TransGlobe Energy Corporation, through its subsidiaries, explores for, develops, and produces crude oil and natural gas liquids in Egypt and Canada. It holds working interests in West Gharib, West Bakr, North West Gharib, South West Gharib, South East Gharib, South Ghazalat, South Alamein, and North West Sitra production sharing contracts. “

TiGenix – American Depositary Shares (NASDAQ:TIG) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a hold rating to a buy rating. Zacks Investment Research currently has $26.00 target price on the stock. According to Zacks, “TiGenix NV is a biopharmaceutical company. It focused on developing and commercializing novel therapeutics for allogeneic or donor-derived, expanded stem cells. The company’s product platform consists of Cx601 and Cx611 which are in clinical trial stage. It operates primarily in Madrid, Spain. TiGenix NV is based in Leuven, Belgium. “

Time (NYSE:TIME) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a hold rating to a strong-buy rating. They currently have $21.00 price target on the stock. According to Zacks, “Time Inc. is a branded media company. It publishes magazines in the United States, the United Kingdom, and internationally. Time also provides content marketing services; targeted local print and digital advertising programs; branded book publishing; and marketing and support services, such as magazine subscription sales services, retail distribution and marketing services, and customer service and fulfilment services to other third-party clients, including other magazine publishers. The Company’s brands includes Time, People, Sports Illustrated, InStyle, Real Simple, Travel + Leisure, Food & Wine, and Wallpaper. Time Inc. is headquartered in New York. “

Turkcell Iletisim Hizmetleri AS (NYSE:TKC) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a sell rating to a hold rating. According to Zacks, “Turkcell is the leading provider of mobile communications services in Turkey. “

Telenav (NASDAQ:TNAV) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a sell rating to a hold rating. According to Zacks, “TeleNav, Inc. is a provider of location based services, or LBS, including voice guided navigation, on mobile phones. Its core LBS solution is GPS Navigator which offers features such as real time traffic alerts, route planning and updated POIs. The Company’s other products include TeleNav Track and TeleNav Shotgun. Through the Company’s hosted service delivery model, it provides its solutions through the networks of wireless carriers in the United States, including Sprint and AT&T, as well as through certain carriers in other countries. The Company is also using its LBS platform to develop new offerings such as a feature rich, in-dash navigation solution for automotive consumers. Additionally, TeleNav is broadening the scope of the LBS platform by developing solutions that support a broad range of location enhanced applications such as location based mobile advertising, commerce and social networking. TeleNav, Inc. is headquartered in Sunnyvale, California. “

Union Pacific (NYSE:UNP) was upgraded by analysts at UBS Group AG from a neutral rating to a buy rating.

Walker & Dunlop (NYSE:WD) was upgraded by analysts at Keefe, Bruyette & Woods from a market perform rating to an outperform rating. They noted that the move was a valuation call. The analysts noted that the move was a valuation call.

Werner Enterprises (NASDAQ:WERN) was upgraded by analysts at UBS Group AG from a neutral rating to a buy rating.

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