Research Analysts’ Upgrades for February, 14th (AXL, AZN, BKU, EFX, EQM, HRL, MHK, SAGE, SKYAY, SMG)

Research Analysts’ upgrades for Tuesday, February 14th:

American Axle & Manufacturing Holdings (NYSE:AXL) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a hold rating to a strong-buy rating. They currently have $24.00 price target on the stock. According to Zacks, “American Axle has outperformed the Zacks categorized Auto/Truck-Original Equipment industry over the last three months. The company’s adjusted earnings for fourth-quarter 2016 rose year over year and beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate. American Axle also reported record annual revenues in 2016. The company is poised to benefit from its backlog of new and incremental business launches from 2017 through 2019, along with its efforts to increase non-General Motors (GM) sales, and the expansion of its manufacturing footprint. The Metaldyne acquisition is also expected to be beneficial. American Axle is also expected to achieve record sales and profits this year. “

Astrazeneca PLC (NYSE:AZN) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a hold rating to a buy rating. Zacks Investment Research currently has $33.00 price target on the stock. According to Zacks, “AstraZeneca’s Q4 results were mixed with earnings beating estimates but sales missing the same. The company has been very active on the acquisition and partnering front and expects to continue pursuing accretive deals. Newly launched drugs should keep contributing to the top line and ease the impact of genericization. Meanwhile, cost-cutting initiatives should drive the bottom line. Streamlining operations, along with its focus on R&D, will benefit the company in the long run. AstraZeneca has a promising late-stage pipeline that includes immuno-oncology candidates. The company expects a lot of activity on the regulatory and pipeline front in 2017.  Although the stock’s decline was sharper than the large cap pharma industry in 2016, it has done well in 2017. However, core products like Nexium and Crestor are facing generic competition which can hurt near-term earnings growth. The diabetes franchise also faces stiff competition.”

BankUnited (NYSE:BKU) was upgraded by analysts at Hovde Group from a market perform rating to an outperform rating. Hovde Group currently has $44.00 target price on the stock.

Equifax (NYSE:EFX) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a sell rating to a hold rating. According to Zacks, “The financial information services provider, Equifaxposted better-than-expected results for fourth-quarter 2016, which also recorded year-over-year growth.Moreover, its optimistic revenues and earnings guidance indicates that its growth initiatives are aimed in the right direction.Management’s efforts, such as strategic initiatives for product innovation, expansion of data assets through acquisitions and continuous share gains in North America, should prove to be tailwinds. Also, the company’s strong correlation with the consumer and financial markets as well as exposure in the U.S. and Europe are likely to propel growth, going ahead.Notably, the stock has outperformed the broader market in the YTD period. However, we expect the company’s investments in new initiatives to weigh on its upcoming quarterly earnings. Additionally, uncertainty surrounding IT spending and strengthening U.S. dollar are some concerns.”

EQT Midstream Partners, (NYSE:EQM) was upgraded by analysts at Morgan Stanley from an equal weight rating to a buy rating. They currently have $89.00 target price on the stock.

Hormel Foods Corporation (NYSE:HRL) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a hold rating to a strong-buy rating. The firm currently has $43.00 target price on the stock. According to Zacks, “Over the last three months, Hormel Foods’ shares have outperformed the Zacks Categorized Food-Meat Products industry. Higher sales from Grocery Products, Jennie-O Turkey and Refrigerated Foods segments are expected to boost the company’s near term revenues. While, increased revenues and lower input costs would likely widen profitability going forward. Moreover, meaningful acquisitions and sale of certain business arms are likely to stimulate the four growth pillars of Hormel Foods. The company is also rewarding its shareholders with consecutive dividend increment plans. Over the last 60 days, Zacks Consensus Estimate for the stock has marginally moved north by 0.6% to $1.71 per share for fiscal 2018.”

Mohawk Industries (NYSE:MHK) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a sell rating to a hold rating. According to Zacks, “Mohawk’s fourth-quarter adjusted earnings and revenues beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 1.2% and 1.7%, respectively. Both the top and the bottom line increased 9.2% and 16% year over year, respectively, driven by higher sales across all segments. Highlights of the quarter include consistent organic growth trajectory (5–6% barring patents), stronger productivity benefits and pricing which offset increased raw material costs. These factors helped offset headwinds such as patent expiration, higher costs for startups and raw materials. The company is currently exploring numerous investment options for expansion, including Greenfield opportunities and acquisitions to broaden its geographic presence and product portfolio in order to boost its top line. Moreover, the 2017 guidance hints at solid growth and productivity. However, currency headwinds are expected to put revenues under pressure in the near term.”

Sage Therapeutics (NASDAQ:SAGE) was upgraded by analysts at Chardan Capital from a sell rating to a neutral rating. The firm currently has $60.00 price target on the stock.

Sky Plc (NASDAQ:SKYAY) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a sell rating to a buy rating. They currently have $56.00 price target on the stock. 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. “

Scotts Miracle-Gro Company (The) (NYSE:SMG) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a hold rating to a buy rating. They currently have $104.00 target price on the stock. According to Zacks, “The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company, through its wholly-owned subsidiary, The Scotts Company LLC, is the world’s largest marketer of branded consumer products for lawn and garden care, with products for professional horticulture as well. The Company’s brands are the most recognized in the industry. In the U.S., the Company’s Scotts, Miracle-Gro, Ortho and Smith & Hawken brands are market-leading in their categories, as is the consumer Roundup brand, which is marketed in North America and most of Europe exclusively by Scotts and owned by Monsanto. In the U.S. the Company operates Scotts LawnService0, the second largest residential lawn care service business. In Europe, the Company’s brands include Weedol, Pathclear, Evergreen, Levington, Miracle-Gro, KB, Fertiligene and Substral. Its customers include home improvement centers, mass merchandisers, warehouse clubs, hardware chains, independent hardware stores, nurseries, food and drug stores, commercial nurseries and greenhouses, and specialty crop growers. “

Synchronoss Technologies (NASDAQ:SNCR) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a strong sell rating to a hold rating. According to Zacks, “SYNCHRONOSS TECHNOLOGIES is the premier provider of on-demand transaction management software to Tier One communications service providers. Synchronoss enables service providers to drive growth in new and existing markets while delivering an improved customer experience at lower costs. The company’s flagship ActivationNow and ConvergenceNow software platforms automate, synchronize and simplify electronic service creation and management of advanced wireline, wireless and IP services across existing networks. “

Spirit Realty Capital (NYSE:SRC) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a sell rating to a hold rating. According to Zacks, “Spirit Realty Capital, Inc. is a real estate investment trust. It acquires single tenant, operationally essential real estate where the tenants conduct retail, service or distribution activities. The Company has investments throughout the United States. Its portfolio of properties is leased to tenants operating in different industries which includes restaurants; general, specialty and discount retailers; movie theatres; education facilities; health, fitness and recreational facilities; automotive dealers, parts and service facilities; and supermarkets. Spirit Realty Capital, Inc. is based in Scottsdale, Arizona. “

Sterling Construction Company (NASDAQ:STRL) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a hold rating to a buy rating. They currently have $9.75 price target on the stock. According to Zacks, “Sterling Construction Company, Inc. is a holding company which has historically operated as a wholesale distributor to the automotive aftermarket and construction through two subsidiaries, Steel City Products and Dowling’s Fleet Service. “

Zillow Group (NASDAQ:ZG) was upgraded by analysts at Stifel Nicolaus from a hold rating to a buy rating. They currently have $43.00 target price on the stock, up from their previous target price of $36.00.

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