Investment Analysts’ downgrades for Wednesday, August 23rd:

Applied Industrial Technologies (NYSE:AIT) was downgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a buy rating to a hold rating. According to Zacks, “Applied Industrial reported better-than-expected fourth-quarter fiscal 2017 results. The company believes that robust upstream business, sturdy performance of the U.S. fluid power business, and superior customer servicing skills will likely bolster its top-line performance in the quarters ahead. Moreover, sound restructuring moves, greater productivity and increased cost discipline are projected to strengthen the company's near-term bottom-line performances. However, over the last three months, the stock has underperformed the industry. The company perceives that a stronger U.S. dollar might continue to hurt its overseas market revenues in the quarters ahead. Even so, other headwinds such as increasing industry rivalry or consolidation among consumers or suppliers, might curtail near-term growth.”

BorgWarner (NYSE:BWA) was downgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a buy rating to a hold rating. According to Zacks, “BorgWarner reported better-than-expected adjusted earnings per share in the second-quarter 2017. The company has outperformed the industry it belongs to in the last three months. However, the company is facing foreign currency headwinds and pressure from original equipment manufacturers (OEM) to reduce prices. In fact, its inability to pass on any rise in raw materials to OEMs, is adversely impacting its profit. Also, due to foreign currency fluctuations it might face a negative impact on sales. But, high organic net sales growth expectations are likely to aid BorgWarner going forward. Huge business opportunities in Asia, the Americas and Europe in the next three years are anticipated to contribute to a major portion of growth. Also, a healthy balance sheet and ample cash flows help the company return capital to shareholders and undertake acquisitions. Moreover, BorgWarner is poised to benefit from its expansion strategy.”

Duke Energy Corporation (NYSE:DUK) was downgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a buy rating to a hold rating. According to Zacks, “Duke Energy’s second-quarter 2017 earnings missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate and also declined from the year-ago figure. The downturn was mainly due to the absence of International Energy that was sold in December 2016, less favorable weather and higher income tax expense. However, revenues surpassed the consensus mark and improved year over year. In fact, we expect the company’s hefty investment plans for the next five years, to improve its business by generating cleaner energy and bolstering its renewable asset base. Moreover, Duke Energy pursues a systematic asset divestment initiative that buoys optimism. Also, it outperformed the broader industry in the last one year. Nevertheless, Duke Energy faces challenges from severe weather conditions and natural calamities like hurricanes, which may result in breakdown and damage its infrastructure.”

L Brands (NYSE:LB) was downgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a hold rating to a strong sell rating. According to Zacks, “L Brands have underperformed the industry in the past one year as it continues to face short-term challenges due to its decision to exit the swimwear category, which according to analysts have failed to generate desired results. The effect of the short-term challenges can easily be seen in the company’s sale performance which have declined year over year and also missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate in the past few quarters. The stock is unlikely to bounce back in the near term as investor sentiment was further hurt after the company trimmed fiscal 2017 guidance. Management now projects earnings in the band of $3.00-$3.20 per share for fiscal 2017, down from the previous guidance of $3.10-$3.40. Nevertheless, it has undertaken strategic initiatives to streamline Victoria’s Secret business and remains optimistic about its investment in China along with White Barn remodels at Bath & Body Works.”

PPL Corporation (NYSE:PPL) was downgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a buy rating to a hold rating. According to Zacks, “Shares of PPL Corp. have gained higher than the industry in the last 12 months. Its second-quarter earnings per share were better than the Zacks Consensus Estimate but total revenues were lower than the same. PPL Corp’s capital investment plan primarily focuses on infrastructure construction projects for generation, transmission and distribution. It has reestablished its hedge levels to shield itself from any near-term decline in the GBP. PPL Corp’s earnings are expected to improve annually by 5-6% in 2017-2020 time period, thanks to the contribution from its domestic and U.K. operations. However, environmental regulatory risks pose challenges to PPL Corp.’s growth. The company’s operations are also subject to service disruptions in the form of breakdown of equipment. Unfavorable weather in Kentucky is also adversely impacting earnings.”

Southern National Bancorp of Virginia (NASDAQ:SONA) was downgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a buy rating to a hold rating. According to Zacks, “Headquartered in Charlottesville Virginia, Sonabank is a new regional bank founded by an experienced banking team with close to hundred years of banking experience. They offer a full line of products and services for personal and business banking. Sonabank specializes in small to medium sized business banking. They have extensive experience in Small Business Administration loans as well as other types of financing suited for businesses. “

Sprague Resources (NYSE:SRLP) was downgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a hold rating to a sell rating. According to Zacks, “Sprague Resources LP operates as suppliers of energy and materials handling services. The Company stores, distributes, and sells refined petroleum products and natural gas. Its products include home heating oil, diesel fuels, residual fuels, gasoline and natural gas. Sprague Resources LP is based in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. “

Sse Plc (NASDAQ:SSEZY) was downgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a buy rating to a hold rating. According to Zacks, “SSE PLC is engaged in the generation, transmission, distribution, and supply of electricity in the United Kingdom and Ireland. The Company also stores and distributes natural gas and provides other energy-related services. It operates a telecommunications network that offers bandwidth and capacity to companies, public sector organizations, Internet service providers, and others. SSE PLC, formerly known as Scottish and Southern Energy plc, is based in Perth, the United Kingdom. “

Mast Therapeutics (NASDAQ:SVRA) was downgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a buy rating to a hold rating. According to Zacks, “Savara Inc. is a clinical-stage pharmaceutical company. It focused on the development and commercialization of novel therapies for the treatment of patients with rare respiratory diseases. Savara Inc., formerly known as Mast Therapeutics, Inc., is based in Austin, United States. “

Stryker Corporation (NYSE:SYK) was downgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a buy rating to a hold rating. According to Zacks, “Stryker exited the second quarter on a solid note, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate on both counts. Solid performance in the MAKO platform drove revenues. An upbeat guidance for the full year instills investor confidence on the stock. Stryker has a diversified product portfolio. Continued strong demand for hemorrhagic and ischemic stroke products and neuro-powered instruments boosted sales in the neurotechnology segment. Stryker has had an impressive run on the bourse over the last one year, trading above the broader industry. However, volatility in foreign currency exchange is likely to impede revenue growth. Stryker also faces supply-side headwinds and has been grappling with issues in the spine business for long. Also, China might prove to be a challenging market.”

Del Taco Restaurants (NASDAQ:TACO) was downgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a buy rating to a hold rating. According to Zacks, “Del Taco is the second largest Mexican-American QSR chain by units in the United States, serving more than three million guests each week. At Del Taco, menu items are made to order with fresh ingredients, including Cheddar cheese grated from 40-pound blocks, handmade pico de gallo salsa, lard-free beans slow-cooked from scratch, and marinated chicken grilled in the restaurant. The menu includes classic Mexican dishes such as tacos, burritos, quesadillas and nachos as well as American favorites including hamburgers, crinkle-cut fries and shakes. The company was founded on June 30, 2015 and is headquartered in Lake Forest, CA. “

Tintri (NASDAQ:TNTR) was downgraded by analysts at Morgan Stanley from an overweight rating to an equal rating.