A number of stocks were upgraded and downgraded by equities research analysts today, as reported by Analyst Ratings Network (http://bit.ly/equitybriefdaily) and Equity Brief:
Zacks reiterated its neutral rating on shares of J.B. Hunt Transport Services, Inc. (NASDAQ: JBHT). They have a $63.00 price target on the stock. Zacks' analyst wrote, "We maintain our Neutral rating on J.B. Hunt. The company's third quarter 2012 earnings missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate but improved year over year. Despite the recent downturn in economy and market demand, we are encouraged by the company's future prospects considering the secular and cyclical growth potential of intermodal franchise and improving mix in the DCS segments. Further, the company is successful in scaling down its exposure in the truck market by curtailing truck operations, while growing in Intermodal. However, competitive threats and uncertainties in key markets may limit the upside potential of the stock."
Zacks reiterated its neutral rating on shares of Jacobs Engineering (NYSE: JEC). They have a $43.00 price target on the stock. Zacks' analyst wrote, "Jacobs' fourth quarter and fiscal 2012 earnings of $0.83 and $2.94 per share outpaced the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $0.80 and $2.91, respectively. The hike was due to a one-time gain on the sale of intellectual property, reduction in costs and growth among most of the major segments. However, without the one time yield the company's earnings were in line with the Zacks Consensus Estimate. Jacob's revenue generation faced a decline in some of the international markets like Canada. The company has a strong balance sheet, a decent capital expenditure pipeline as well as a lot of repeat businesses which contribute to further improvement. However, changes in government spending and economic scenario in the international markets are expected to mar the company's performance. Hence, we maintain a Neutral recommendation on the stock."
Zacks reiterated its neutral rating on shares of Kraft Foods (NASDAQ: KRFT). They have a $47.00 price target on the stock. Zacks' analyst wrote, "We are initiating coverage on Kraft Foods Group with a Neutral recommendation and a target price of $47.00. Kraft Foods Group was spun off from the Kraft Foods, Inc into a separate independent company in October. We are encouraged by Kraft' strong and diverse brand portfolio and market share positions. Kraft is trying to improve long-term results by focusing on cost savings, brand support via strong advertising, and cash generation. We believe Kraft's focus on increased innovation and marketing support will result in incremental returns in the long term. Moreover, its aggressive cost reduction and efficiency improvement initiatives will provide more cash to invest in its brand building and marketing initiatives. Kraft also aims to maximize cash flows which will be used to pay strong and competitive dividends. However, challenging industry conditions and a lack of exposure outside U.S. keep us on the sidelines."
Cowen initiated coverage on shares of Linkedin Co. (NASDAQ: LNKD). They issued a neutral rating on the stock.
JMP Securities initiated coverage on shares of Allscripts Healthcare Solutions (NASDAQ: MDRX). They issued a market perform rating on the stock.
Zacks upgraded shares of Methanex Corporation (MEOH) from an underperform rating to a neutral rating. Zacks now has a $31.00 price target on the stock.
Barclays Capital initiated coverage on shares of Mechel (MTL). They issued an underweight rating on the stock.
Deutsche Bank upgraded shares of Nabors Industries (NBR) from a hold rating to a buy rating. Deutsche Bank now has a $28.00 price target on the stock, up previously from $22.00.
Zacks reiterated its neutral rating on shares of National-Oilwell Varco, Inc. (NOV). They have a $75.00 price target on the stock. Zacks' analyst wrote, "We are maintaining our Neutral recommendation on National Oilwell Varco shares, as we see a limited near term price upside. We like its healthy backlog, solid balance sheet and strength in international operations, particularly in the Middle East and Brazil. The impending Robbins & Myers acquisition will further boost National Oilwell's earnings visibility by expanding its blowout preventer product line a critical safety machine for a well. The recent influx of offshore rig awards adds to the positive sentiment. However, we think the current valuation is fair and adequately reflects the company's future growth prospects. Moreover, with markets remaining competitive and pricing likely to be weak, we see no obvious catalyst in National Oilwell's business to significantly push the stock price higher."
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