Analysts’ upgrades for Monday, August 28th:

Accenture PLC (NYSE:ACN) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a hold rating to a buy rating. The firm currently has $145.00 target price on the stock. According to Zacks, “Accenture is one of world’s leading providers of management consultancy, technology and outsourcing services. We are positive about Accenture’s latest product additions in the analytics application space, given the increasing demand for digital solutions. Moreover, Accenture’s strategy of growing through acquisitions is encouraging. The acquisitions have enabled Accenture to enter new markets, diversify and broaden its product portfolio, and maintain its leading position. Notably, shares of the company outperformed the broader market over the past year. Nonetheless, Accenture’s recent announcement of creating 15K new jobs by 2020 and investment plan of $1.4 billion for employee training and opening of 10 innovation centers across the U.S. cities may dent its bottom-line results in our opinion. Furthermore, increasing competition from peers and an uncertain macroeconomic environment may deter its growth to some extent.”

AGF Management Limited (TSE:AGF.B) was upgraded by analysts at TD Securities from a hold rating to a buy rating. TD Securities currently has C$9.50 price target on the stock, up from their previous price target of C$7.50.

Commerce Bancshares (NASDAQ:CBSH) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a hold rating to a buy rating. They currently have $62.00 price target on the stock. According to Zacks, “Shares of Commerce Bancshares have underperformed the industry in the past year. However, the company has surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate for earnings in three of the trailing four quarters. The company's efforts to expand its footprint in newer markets, an improving rate scenario and expectation of lesser regulations are expected to boost revenues further. Also, strong loan and deposit balance should support its profitability. Given a solid liquidity position, the company should be able to continue enhancing shareholder value through efficient capital deployment activities. However, rising expenses mainly due to increase in personnel costs and investments in franchise remain a major headwind. Further, a significant exposure to real estate loans remains a near-term concern for the company.”

CSRA (NYSE:CSRA) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a hold rating to a buy rating. They currently have $35.00 price target on the stock. According to Zacks, “CSRA is the largest pure play government IT service provider. The company’s deep domain knowledge and expertise in next-generation IT services is aiding it to win new contracts on a regular basis. This was evident from the recently announced first-quarter results. Additionally, partnerships with technology companies like Microsoft, Amazon and Oracle is a key growth driver. Moreover, anticipated improvement in federal spending is a positive for the company. However, near-term uncertainty over the renewal of Greenway contract and delay in TSA contract are headwinds. The lower recompete win rate is a concern in our view.  Notably, the company has underperformed the industry on a year-to-date basis.”

Dollar General Corporation (NYSE:DG) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a hold rating to a buy rating. The firm currently has $87.00 target price on the stock. According to Zacks, “Dollar General remains committed toward better price management, merchandise initiatives and cost containment.  The company’s recent deal to acquire 322 stores from a small multi-price point retailer is also encouraging. We believe that the company’s strategic endeavors have helped it to deliver better-than-expected results for the second straight quarter, as it posted first-quarter fiscal 2017 financial numbers. Upbeat performance and the news of recent store buyout deal, prompted management to raise its sales outlook. As a result the stock has outperformed the industry in the past three months. Meanwhile, Trump’s suggestion of reducing food stamps program by $193 billion, which is nearly 25% of the budget for the program, will have a detrimental effect. Cut in SNAP benefit will hamper the company’s performance as people with low income will have less money to spend and could restrict their spending to low margin products.”

Domino’s Pizza (NYSE:DPZ) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a hold rating to a buy rating. They currently have $200.00 price target on the stock. According to Zacks, “Domino's shares have outpaced the industry year to date. 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. Notably, the company’s revenues and earnings surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate in each of the trailing five quarters. In fact, second-quarter 2017 marked the 25th and 94th consecutive quarter of positive same-store-sales domestically and internationally, respectively. Going forward, Domino'sinitiatives on the digital front, 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.”

Gerdau (NYSE:GGB) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a hold rating to a buy rating. The firm currently has $4.00 price target on the stock. According to Zacks, “Year to date, Gerdau's American Depository Receipts (ADR) have outperformed the industry. We believe that the company's product portfolio and manufacturing techniques will help it grow over the long term. Its international diversity provides support to the top line. Also, its strategy of disposing loss-making assets/businesses will enable it to focus on the profitable ones. Going forward, any investment by the government in infrastructure improvements will boost steel demand in these regions, thereby creating lucrative market conditions for steel producers like Gerdau. For 2017, Gerdau expects capital expenditure to be R$1.3 billion. Over the last 60 days, earnings estimates on the stock improved for both 2017 and 2018.”

Gol Linhas Aereas Inteligentes (NYSE:GOL) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a hold rating to a buy rating. Zacks Investment Research currently has $19.00 target price on the stock. According to Zacks, “Shares of GOL Linhas have outperformed its industry in the last six months. Ushering in further good news, the company reported better-than-expected results in the second quarter of 2017. Moreover, the top line improved significantly year over year. The carrier's view for full-year 2017 is also encouraging. An improving Latin American economy is also aiding GOL Linhas. We expect the company’s focus on capacity discipline to result in increasing yields, going forward. However, the carrier's earnings per share declined significantly in the second quarter due to higher expenses on aircraft fuel. Moreover, total volume of departures fell 5.1%, while total number of seats available declined 4.1% in the quarter. GOL is also highly dependent on the products of certain big suppliers and operates in a competitive Latin American airline space.”

Hasbro (NASDAQ:HAS) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a hold rating to a buy rating. Zacks Investment Research currently has $107.00 target price on the stock. According to Zacks, “Hasbro’s earnings have topped the Zacks Consensus Estimate in all the past 10 quarters. Revenues too have been surpassing the consensus mark, except for the last quarter. Consistent efforts to establish its global presence via strategic partnerships and rapid growth in emerging markets should continue driving the top- and bottom–line performance. However, Hasbro’s shares have underperformed its industry year to date. Even so, this year’s rich content slate, new product launches, diverse initiatives to boost sales along with a favorable gaming portfolio should further drive growth ahead. Going forward, the Franchise and Partner Brands, particularly, are expected to perform consistently in 2017 given global digital content and innovative offerings. Yet, increased competition from alternative modes of entertainment might limit top-line growth, while high costs along with macroeconomic and currency headwinds may pressurize profits.”

Itron (NASDAQ:ITRI) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a hold rating to a buy rating. They currently have $81.00 price target on the stock. According to Zacks, “Itron expects revenues to be between $2.03 million and $2.06 billion, and adjusted earnings per share between $2.95 and $3.15 for the 2017. Its favorable mix of business, in addition to operational efficiencies and greater day-to-day business discipline, will drive earnings growth. Itron continues to focus on expanding its portfolio of outcome-based solutions, aimed at higher growth opportunities utilizing the power of the OpenWay Riva platform. The company’s restructuring projects will help in reducing costs and increase manufacturing flexibility. Moreover, the Comverge acquisition, strong bookings and backlog, and new projects are anticipated to fuel growth. The company outperformed the industry over the past year.”

Knoll (NYSE:KNL) was upgraded by analysts at Raymond James Financial, Inc. from a market perform rating to an outperform rating.

Bank of the Ozarks (NASDAQ:OZRK) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a sell rating to a hold rating. According to Zacks, “Shares of Bank of the Ozarks have underperformed the industry over the last three months. Yet, the company has an impressive earnings surprise history. It hasn’t missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate for earnings in any of the trailing four quarters. Consistent growth in loans and deposits, easing margin pressure and impressive expansion strategy will aid profitability. Also, the company’s steady capital deployment activities continue to enhance shareholders values. However, as the company intends to expand through de novo branching strategy and also inorganically, operating expenses are expected to remain high in the quarters ahead. Further, the company’s substantial exposure to real estate loans remains a concern, which might hurt its financials.”

Skyworks Solutions (NASDAQ:SWKS) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a hold rating to a buy rating. Zacks Investment Research currently has $114.00 target price on the stock. According to Zacks, “Skyworks reported strong third-quarter fiscal 2017 results. Both earnings and revenues increased on a year-over-year basis. Strong demand for Wi-Fi, Zigbee and LTE solutions have helped the company to gain traction. Management provided optimistic guidance for the fourth-quarter. We note that Skyworks has outperformed the broader market on a year-to-date basis. Further, strategic design wins in IoT, automotive and 5G markets to remain significant positives for the company in the long haul. However, heavy investments in R&D are escalating operating expenses, which is affecting margins. Significant pricing pressure, technological obsolescence and high concentration risks remain additional headwinds. Additionally the delay in launch of iPhone 8 seems to be a negative for the company.”

Taubman Centers (NYSE:TCO) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a sell rating to a hold rating. According to Zacks, “Shares of Taubman Centers have underperformed its industry, year to date. However, the stock has seen the Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year funds from operations (FFO) per share being revised upward in the past seven days. Notably, its better-than expected performance in the second quarter reflected substantial lease cancellation income and higher rents, together with lesser operating and general and administrative costs. Its focus on implementing cost-saving initiatives is likely to support FFO per share, going forward. However, Taubman Centers’ performance in the near term is anticipated to be affected by the choppy retail real estate environment. Amid significant competition and growing online purchases, mall traffic continues to suffer. These have led to significant store closures and bankruptcy filing by retailers. Also, hike in interest rates and unfavorable foreign currency movements increase its risks.”

WEC Energy Group (NYSE:WEC) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a sell rating to a hold rating. According to Zacks, “Shares of WEC Energy have outperformed the industry in the last twelve months. Thanks to ongoing improvement in economic conditions in its service territories, WEC Energy at present is serving more customers than the year-ago level. Also, more than 99% of its earnings come from regulated operations, which provided excellent visibility on its future performance. WEC Energy Group’s investments in infrastructure projects will help it to meet increasing customer demand and improve service reliability. However, in first-half 2017 electricity delivered to residential customers and large commercial and industrial customers declined from the year-ago period. Regulatory compliance and any delay in the completion of ongoing capital projects could increase expenses and reduce profitability.”

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