Equities Research Analysts’ Updated EPS Estimates for February, 12th (AAL, AES, AFLYY, AQMS, BX, CNP, CWCO, ETP, FDX, FPM)

Equities Research Analysts’ updated eps estimates for Monday, February 12th:

American Airlines Group (NASDAQ:AAL) was downgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a buy rating to a hold rating. According to Zacks, “American Airlines reported better-than-expected earnings per share and revenues in the fourth quarter of 2017. Additionally, both metrics improved on a year-over-year basis. Strong demand for air travel coupled with improving yields also aided results. The company's performance with respect to unit revenues was also encouraging in the quarter. Efforts to modernize its fleet too raise optimism in the stock. However, high costs have the potential to limit bottom-line growth going forward. Consolidated cost per available seat miles (excluding special items and fuel) is expected to increase 4% in the first quarter of 2018. Further, adding to its woes are its high debt levels. In fact, shares of the company have underperformed its industry in the last three months.”

AES (NYSE:AES) had its buy rating reissued by analysts at SunTrust Banks, Inc.. SunTrust Banks, Inc. currently has a $14.00 price target on the stock.

Air France KLM (OTCMKTS:AFLYY) had its sell rating reaffirmed by analysts at Bank of America Corp.

Aqua Metals (NASDAQ:AQMS) had its buy rating reiterated by analysts at Oppenheimer Holdings Inc..

Blackstone Group (NYSE:BX) was downgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a hold rating to a sell rating. According to Zacks, “Blackstone has an impressive earnings surprise history, having surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate in three of the trailing four quarters. The company’s fourth-quarter 2017 results benefited from higher revenues, partially offset by an increase in costs. The company remains well positioned to capitalize on its fund-raising ability and continue to benefit from revenue mix, persistent asset inflows and inorganic growth efforts. However, elevated expenses, mainly due to higher compensation costs along with its higher dependence on management and advisory fees for revenues, remain key concern. Sustainability of its quarterly distribution (owing to higher debt equity ratio than the industry) is less, thus making us apprehensive. These concerns seem to be weighing on the stock, which has underperformed the industry in the last three months.”

CenterPoint Energy (NYSE:CNP) had its hold rating reissued by analysts at SunTrust Banks, Inc.. SunTrust Banks, Inc. currently has a $27.00 price target on the stock.

Consolidated Water (NASDAQ:CWCO) was downgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a hold rating to a sell rating. According to Zacks, “Consolidated Water carries risk of failure to renew long term contracts with major customers as well as negative foreign exchange fluctuation hurting performance. Fluctuation in weather conditions and risk of water contamination are other headwinds. Loss in Consolidated Water’s shares were narrower compared with the industry‘s loss in the last month. Consolidated Water 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. To further expand its drinking water and wastewater services, the company is working relentlessly to expand its existing operations in the Cayman Islands, The Bahamas and Belize.”

Energy Transfer Partners (NYSE:ETP) was downgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a hold rating to a sell rating. According to Zacks, “Units of Energy Transfer Partners declined over 29% over a year, displaying weak price movement both in absolute and relative terms. The partnership is grappling with various challenges relating to its growth projects which are denting the near term prospects of the stock. Its large-scale Dakota Access pipeline is facing continued opposition from the environmentalists and Sioux tribe. Additionally, the construction of its Mariner East 2 pipeline has also been suspended since the partnership has failed to comply with the Clean Streams Law and the Dam Safety Act. Moreover, the partnership is burdened with high debt which restricts its financial flexibility. We also need to factor ETP’s low return on equity and dismal earnings surprise history. All these factors have made us turn bearish on the stock for the time being.”

FedEx (NYSE:FDX) had its buy rating reissued by analysts at Robert W. Baird. Robert W. Baird currently has a $270.00 target price on the stock.

Faroe Petroleum (LON:FPM) had its outperform rating reaffirmed by analysts at BMO Capital Markets. BMO Capital Markets currently has a GBX 125 ($1.75) target price on the stock.

J2 Global (NASDAQ:JCOM) was downgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a hold rating to a strong sell rating. According to Zacks, “Shares of j2 Global have performed worse than its industry over the past month. Adding to its woes, the company reported lower-than-expected earnings per share in the fourth quarter of 2017. Results were hurt by high costs. Operating expenses increased 35.4% on a year-over-year basis. Increased costs pertaining to sales and marketing primarily led to the substantial rise in operating expenses. Such high costs have the potential to limit bottom-line growth in future as well. We are also concerned about the company's high debt levels. In the fourth quarter, long-term debt increased 66.2% to $1 billion . Also, free cash flow decreased 8.9% year over year during the quarter. The pessimism surrounding the stock is reflected by the fact that the Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings has been revised 1.5% downward over the last 30 days. We are, however, impressed by the company's efforts to reward shareholders.”

Jacobs Engineering Group (NYSE:JEC) had its buy rating reiterated by analysts at Alembic Global Advisors.

QEP Resources (NYSE:QEP) was downgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a buy rating to a hold rating. 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. However, the company, which derives its reserves/production from oil and natural gas, is exposed to volatile commodity prices. This is also reflected in the share price of the company which has declined about 58% over a year, underperforming the broader industry. Therefore, until oil and gas realizations improve further, we maintain a cautious stance on QEP shares.”

Regal Beloit (NYSE:RBC) had its outperform rating reiterated by analysts at Barrington Research. The firm currently has a $87.00 price target on the stock.

Schlumberger (NYSE:SLB) was downgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a hold rating to a sell rating. According to Zacks, “Schlumberger has lower exposure to U.S. shale plays — where more drillers have gathered following partial recovery in crude prices. Per a report by Baker Hughes, a GE company, almost 271 more oil and gas rigs were added for exploiting prospective domestic resources in 2017. Hence, reduced exposure to U.S. plays may lessen oilfield service contracts for Schlumberger. We are also concerned about the increase in the company’s long-term debt load. Since 2014-end, there has been almost a 41% increase in long-term debt. Over the same time frame, cash balance fell considerably, reflecting weakness in the balance sheet.”

Southern (NYSE:SO) had its hold rating reissued by analysts at SunTrust Banks, Inc.. The firm currently has a $46.00 target price on the stock.

Teradata (NYSE:TDC) was downgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a hold rating to a sell rating. According to Zacks, “Teradata reported dismal fourth-quarter 2017 results. Earnings declined on a year-over-year basis due to flat revenues.  The company is being adversely impacted by its ongoing business transformation. Also, restructuring related costs, a sluggish spending environment in the domestic market and increasing competition continues to weigh on its financials. However, strategic partnerships with the big technology giants and acquisitions bode well for long-term growth. We believe that new customer wins and strengthening relationships with large vendors will primarily drive revenues and profits. We expect the company to benefit from transition to a subscription-based revenue model in the long run.  In the past 12-months, Teradata shares have underperformed the industry it belongs to.”

United Continental (NYSE:UAL) was downgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a buy rating to a hold rating. According to Zacks, “United Continental’s fourth-quarter 2017 earnings (on an adjusted basis) of $1.40 per share surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 6 cents. However, the bottom line declined 21.4% on a year-over-year basis due to higher costs.Operating revenues of $9, 438 million were marginally ahead of the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $9,427.9 million. The top line also increased 4.3% on a year-over-year basis. Strong demand for air travel aided the top line. The company also recorded PRASM growth in the quarter. The company expects consolidated PRASM growth in the band of 0% to 2% (year over year) for the first quarter of 2018. Apart from high costs, we are concerned about the capacity overexpansion at United Continental. In fact, shares of the company have underperformed its industry over the past year. “

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