Investment Analysts’ upgrades for Tuesday, November 7th:

ABM Industries (NYSE:ABM) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a strong sell rating to a hold rating. According to Zacks, “ABM has underperformed the industry year to date due to macroeconomic concerns. Brexit could further result in higher tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade between the U.K. and the European Union, lowering its productivity. The company is likely to be stifled by the renegotiated deals and restrictions imposed on trade with other European Union members. Strong competitive pressures could also limit ABM’s success rate in bidding for profitable businesses and its ability to increase prices in accordance with the rising costs. However, the acquisition of GCA Services Group is likely to offer profitable growth opportunities, yielding greater efficiencies and costs synergies. ABM’s comprehensive, strategic and transformative initiatives are focused on driving sustainable profitability by effectively allocating resources to higher margin services and business verticals with a strong competitive edge.”

ABIOMED (NASDAQ:ABMD) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a hold rating to a buy rating. Zacks Investment Research currently has $220.00 target price on the stock. According to Zacks, “Over the last six months, Abiomed has been trading above the broader industry. Management expects that robust demand for the Impella product line will continue to drive Abiomed’s top line. The company’s expanding product portfolio will improve penetration into both the prophylactic high-risk PCI and cardiogenic shock patient market. This is evident from the fact that both Impella 2.5 and CP continue to add centers in the U.S. The company also announced the successful launch of the Abiomed Impella Quality Program in fiscal 2017 to improve clinical outcomes. Also, cost-savings efforts remain encouraging. Furthermore, a rising estimate revision trend for the current year indicates a pocket of opportunity for the stock. However, intensifying competition in the niche markets is likely to mar prospects over the long haul.”

American Financial Group (NYSE:AFG) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a sell rating to a hold rating. According to Zacks, “American Financial’s third-quarter 2017 earnings outpaced the Zacks Consensus Estimate but declined year over year due to lower underwriting income as a result of higher catastrophe loss. Also, shares of American Financial have underperformed the industry since the release of its third-quarter results. American Financial is well poised to benefit from impressive inorganic growth and restructuring initiatives. Better industry fundamentals, with strong pricing and a higher renewal ratio, should drive overall growth. Consistent price increase in property and casualty business, combined ratio that compares favorably with industry average, a strong balance sheet, low leverage cost, and disciplined capital management are positives. Based on the first nine months’ results, it lowered core net operating earnings to a range of $5.90-$6.20 per share in 2017. However, its exposure to cat loss is a risk to underwriting results.”

Ashford Hospitality Trust (NYSE:AHT) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a hold rating to a buy rating. Zacks Investment Research currently has $7.00 price target on the stock. According to Zacks, “Ashford Hospitality Trust Inc is a self advised Maryland corporation and real estate investment trust organized to pursue opportunities in the lodging industry. Initial assets consist of six hotels comprised of four Embassy Suites and two Radisson properties as well as eight asset management and consulting agreements. “

ANI Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:ANIP) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a hold rating to a buy rating. The firm currently has $71.00 price target on the stock. According to Zacks, “ANI Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is a specialty pharmaceutical company. It engaged in developing, manufacturing and marketing branded and generic prescription pharmaceuticals. The company offers liquid, powder, oral solid dose, cough/cold products, antacids, laxatives, stomach remedies as well as hydrocortisone retention enema, esterified estrogen and methyltestosterone, fluvoxamine maleate tablets, hydrocortisone rectal suspension, metoclopramide oral solution, opium tincture and metoclopramide tablets. In addition, it offers contract manufacturing services for other pharmaceutical companies. The company serves through wholesalers, smaller regional distributors and chains and pharmacy and retail outlets primarily in the United States. ANI Pharmaceuticals, Inc., formerly known as BioSante Pharmaceuticals, Inc., is headquartered in Baudette, MN. “

ANSYS (NASDAQ:ANSS) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a hold rating to a buy rating. Zacks Investment Research currently has $169.00 target price on the stock. According to Zacks, “ANSYS is a dominant player in the high-end design simulation software market. The company reported impressive third-quarter 2017 results. Both earnings and revenues increased on a year-over-year basis driven by robust growth in software license and maintenance & service revenues. We believe that robust product portfolio, expanding total addressable market (due to rising complexity in manufacturing IoT related products), improving enterprise penetration, collaborations with leading vendors, and strong balance sheet are the catalysts. Notably, the stock has outperformed the industry on a year-to-date basis. However, declining perpetual license revenues will hurt top-line growth at least in the near term. Moreover, weakness in Europe remains a major concern.”

ARRIS International PLC (NASDAQ:ARRS) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a hold rating to a buy rating. The firm currently has $32.00 price target on the stock. According to Zacks, “ARRIS performed well on the bottom line front in the third quarter driven by its strong product portfolio. Given its impressive earnings history we expect the company to perform well in the final quarter of 2017 too. The company  expects earnings (adjusted) between 74 cents and 80 cents in the fourth quarter of 2017. We are also impressed by the company's efforts to  reward shareholders through buybacks. ARRIS has bought back 5.7 million shares for $147 million so far this year. ARRIS has recenty inked several deals to broaden its product portfolio. In February 2017, the company entered into a deal with Broadcom to purchase Brocade Communication's Ruckus Wireless and ICX Switch units. The deal is expected to close by year-end. However, the company's revenue related woes are concerning. It reported lower-than-expected revenues in third-quarter. Shares of the company have underperformed its industry so far this year.”

Avery Dennison Corporation (NYSE:AVY) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a hold rating to a buy rating. Zacks Investment Research currently has $120.00 price target on the stock. According to Zacks, “Avery Dennison projects adjusted earnings per share guidance in the range of $4.90-$4.95 fir fiscal 2017. The midpoint of the guidance range reflects year-over-year growth of 23%. The company expected reported sales growth in the range of 8% for the full year. Its consistent execution of strategies continues to enhance competitive advantage while driving profitable growth. Focus on productivity, acquisitions, aggressive cost control and share repurchases will also drive results.  Its segments remain well poised for growth. Moreover, its shares have outperformed the industry year to date. Its estimates have gone up lately.”

BP p.l.c. (NYSE:BP) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a hold rating to a buy rating. Zacks Investment Research currently has $46.00 target price on the stock. According to Zacks, “BP is one of the largest integrated energy firms in the world with a strong and diversified portfolio of development projects.  BP recently commenced natural gas production at the Khazzan field in Oman. The project, expected to have an inventory of 300 drilling wells, is the largest start-up by BP in 2017. Also, it is the sixth project start-up among the seven new key developments of the company this year. All the projects are likely to take the energy giant closer to its target of adding 800,000 barrels of oil equivalent every day by 2020. Over the last one year, the company has outperformed the industry.  For the fourth quarter of 2017, BP projects sequentially higher production owing to ongoing project ramp ups.   Also, the company has restarted share repurchase plan beginning fourth quarter 2017. BP’s dividend yield is also much higher than that of the industry. This shows that the energy companies are again getting stabilized.”

Ciena Corporation (NYSE:CIEN) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a sell rating to a hold rating. According to Zacks, “Estimates for Ciena have remained stable off late. The stock has outperformed the industry to which it belongs to in the last one year. The company’s diversified product portfolio is helping it in expanding customer base. Ciena’s revenues are expected to benefit from rising demand for packet-optical transport and switching products, integrated network and service management software. Moreover, strong international growth opportunity particularly in the Asia-Pacific market is positive in our view. Nonetheless, Ciena competes against much larger players in the networking industry which is a major obstacle for the company. Customer concentration has also been a major factor for Ciena. Given the competitive nature of the industry, the loss of any one of its key customers would severely impact results, going forward. Uncertainty related to government business and macroeconomic volatility are other headwinds.”

CNA Financial Corporation (NYSE:CNA) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a hold rating to a buy rating. The firm currently has $62.00 price target on the stock. According to Zacks, “Shares of CNA Financial have outperformed the industry year to date. Being one of the versatile property and casualty (P&C) insurers, CNA Financial has been maintaining a good track record of combined ratio over the past few years, thereby leading to underwriting profitability. Moreover, with the rising interest rate environment, the company has been displaying improving investment results over a considerable period of time. The company also remains committed in enhancing shareholders value via effective capital deployment. Its long-term care business continues to perform strongly. However, exposure to catastrophe losses poses an inherent risk to the P&C business, thus rendering volatility to the company’s earnings. With respect to quarterly results, CNA Financial’s third-quarter 2017 earnings outperformed the Zacks Consensus Estimate but deteriorated year over year on significantly higher catastrophe losses.”

Conduent (NASDAQ:CNDT) was upgraded by analysts at Cross Research from a hold rating to a buy rating.

Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a hold rating to a buy rating. The firm currently has $202.00 price target on the stock. According to Zacks, “Facebook reported strong third quarter 2017 results as mobile and live video efforts continue to pay off big time. Instagram remains another important revenue stream. Apart from mobile and video, the monetization opportunities of the company’s other subsidiaries – Messenger, WhatsApp and Oculus – and a huge user base/higher engagement levels are expected to drive growth going ahead. Facebook is also dabbling in AR/VR and AI technologies, which bodes well for long term growth. In the last one year, it has vastly outperformed the broader market. However, due to the recent uproar caused by apparent usage of the platform by Russian elements for interfering in the election process has put Facebook in a spot. As a result, Facebook CEO has said that it will make sizable investments to tighten security on the platform which along with continued investments in video, AR/VR and AI, will dent operating margins going ahead.”

Fluor Corporation (NYSE:FLR) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a strong sell rating to a hold rating. According to Zacks, “Fluor’s third-quarter adjusted earnings from continuing operations came in at 67 cents, topping the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 15.5%. The company’s leading position in nuclear remediation at government facilities is a positive. Its market diversity as well as strong focus on streamlining business structure to boost profitability is expected to boost growth, going forward. Also, stabilizing commodity prices and gradual improvement in energy and mining sectors are anticipated to unlock further opportunities of growth. However, over the past six months, Fluor’s shares have underperformed the industry average. The company is facing a dearth of new awards which may impact growth prospects significantly. Fluor has also been witnessing continuous backlog erosion over the past few quarters, adding to its concerns.”

Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (The) (NYSE:GS) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a hold rating to a buy rating. They currently have $273.00 price target on the stock. According to Zacks, “Shares of Goldman underperformed the industry over the past six months. Yet, the company boasts an impressive earnings surprise history. It has surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate for earnings in three of the trailing four quarters. Goldman’s third-quarter 2017 results surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate. Results reflected higher revenues on continued momentum in investment banking business, partially offset by lower fixed-income trading activities and elevated expenses. Though several issues, including sluggish global economic growth and lower client activity levels, remain near-to-medium-term headwinds, we believe the company’s well-diversified business and its focus to capitalize on growth opportunities through strategic moves should continue to bolster the overall business.”

Host Hotels & Resorts (NYSE:HST) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a sell rating to a hold rating. According to Zacks, “Host Hotels & Resorts reported third-quarter 2017 adjusted funds from operations (FFO) of 33 cents per share, which came in line with the Zacks Consensus Estimate. However, the adjusted FFO per share fell 10.8% from the year-ago tally. Results reflect the difficult year-over-year comparisons in Brazil, holiday shift, impact of the hurricanes, as well as revenue loss from disposition of hotels. However, Host Hotels’ solid portfolio of upscale hotels across lucrative markets, strategic capital-recycling program and a healthy balance sheet bode well for long-term growth. Also, its fourth-quarter 2017 performance is likely to rebound with the positive impact from holiday shift and as the impact of natural disasters subsides. Nevertheless, supply growth, specifically in the company’s key markets, remains a concern. In addition to this, dilutive impact of asset sales cannot be bypassed. Also, rate hike add to its woes.”

Leggett & Platt, (NYSE:LEG) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a sell rating to a hold rating. According to Zacks, “Leggett reported a mixed third-quarter 2017, wherein earnings were in line with estimates, while sales lagged marginally. Further, the bottom line dropped year over year and sales grew. During the quarter, benefits from higher sales were more than offset by increased raw material expenses. Further, margins remained under pressure due to pricing lag that occurs in case of commodity cost inflation. The company narrowed earnings and sales guidance for 2017, leading to a downtrend in estimates. Moreover, the company’s shares have lagged the industry year to date. However, organic sales gained from persistent strength in Automotive, Adjustable Bed, and several other businesses, alongside solid volumes and benefits from acquisitions. Additionally, the company remains on track with its 2019 targets, aimed at achieving top-third TSR target in next three years. This will be aided by revenues growth, margin enhancement and shareholder-friendly moves.”

Allscripts Healthcare Solutions (NASDAQ:MDRX) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a hold rating to a buy rating. Zacks Investment Research currently has $14.00 price target on the stock. According to Zacks, “Allscripts exited the third quarter on a favorable note. A solid guidance for 2017 and an encouraging long-term outlook are the key highlights at the moment. Also, expansion in margin in the third quarter is encouraging. We look forward to the takeover of the hospital and health system business of McKesson Corporation.The company’s solid growth in U.S. Core Solutions and Services, fueled by Sunrise electronic health record (EHR) platform and Allscripts Revenue Cycle Management Services buoys optimism.On the flipside, Allscripts’ continued reliance on mergers and acquisition activities poses substantial integration risks. Furthermore, intensifying competition is a major dampener. The company’s products have a long sales cycle which involves intensive decision-making at different managerial levels. The company also expects a modest increase in operating expenses going ahead, to support business growth.”

MiX Telematics Limited (NYSE:MIXT) was upgraded by analysts at BidaskClub from a hold rating to a buy rating.

3M (NYSE:MMM) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a hold rating to a buy rating. The firm currently has $258.00 target price on the stock. According to Zacks, “Driven by broad-based organic growth across all segments and geographies, 3M reported strong third-quarter 2017 results with healthy year-over-year increase in earnings and revenues that beat the respective Zacks Consensus Estimates. 3M's global footprint, diversified product portfolio and the ability to penetrate in different markets have been its forte. 3M is investing heavily to bolster its competitive edge in the future. At the same time, the company is continuing with its portfolio restructuring efforts by divesting assets that no longer fit in its strategy and continues to make investments in other lucrative markets. The company has raised its guidance for 2017 on healthy growth dynamics. 3M has also outperformed the industry year to date. However, given its international presence, adverse foreign currency translations are likely to affect 3M’s ability to realize projected growth rates in sales and earnings.”

MTU Aero Engines AG (OTC:MTUAY) was upgraded by analysts at J P Morgan Chase & Co from a neutral rating to an overweight rating.

Gibraltar Industries (NASDAQ:ROCK) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a hold rating to a buy rating. Zacks Investment Research currently has $37.00 target price on the stock. According to Zacks, “Over the past month, Gibraltar Industries’ shares have outperformed the industry. The company’s third-quarter 2017 adjusted earnings of 67 cents per share surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 54 cents and also came in higher than the year-ago tally of 55 cents. The upside stemmed from the successful implementation of the company’s five-year four-pillar value-creation strategy. The company believes stronger Residential and Renewable Energy and Conservation sales will bolster its revenues and profitability, going forward. Moreover, acquisitions, strategic portfolio management moves and new innovation investments are anticipated to generate benefits in the quarters ahead.”

Stone Energy Corporation (NYSE:SGY) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a sell rating to a hold rating. According to Zacks, “Stone Energy has a multi-year inventory of drilling prospects, and is working on a strategy to fund its growth areas in Appalachia, the Rockies and the Deep Gas in the conventional shelf. It is actively engaged in horizontal well drilling in the Marcellus Shale and involved in various vertical tests in the Bakken Shale play. The company’s excellent financial health is also noteworthy. The company posted profit and beat the estimates during the third-quarter 2017. The improvement can be attributed to higher oil equivalent price realizations. Stone Energy outperformed the industry over the last one year. However, the company is facing pressure on top line and has seen its total revenues decline at a CAGR of 31.2% over the past three years. Stone Energy had filed for relief under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code. The company's operations, business plans and its continuation as an entity will be subject to uncertainties related with Bankruptcy”

SL Green Realty Corporation (NYSE:SLG) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a sell rating to a hold rating. According to Zacks, “Shares of SL Green have underperformed its industry year to date. Nonetheless, SL Green enjoys high-quality office properties as well as diverse tenant base, makes opportunistic investments and has solid balance-sheet strength. In addition, its leasing activity is likely to remain decent amid an improving economy and job market environment. Also, in September the company acquired stake in Worldwide Plaza through a partnership with private investment manager RXR Realty. However, SL Green faces intense competition from developers, owners and operators of office properties and other commercial real estate which limits its pricing power. Moreover, rate hike add to its woes.”

Valeant Pharmaceuticals International (NYSE:VRX) (TSE:VRX) was upgraded by analysts at TD Securities from a hold rating to a buy rating.

William Hil Adr (OTC:WIMHY) was upgraded by analysts at Bank of America Corporation from an underperform rating to a buy rating.

Wingstop (NASDAQ:WING) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a sell rating to a hold rating. According to Zacks, “Wingstop Inc. franchises and operates restaurants. The Company’s operating segment consists of Franchise segment and Company segment. It offers cooked-to-order, hand-sauced and tossed chicken wings. Wingstop Inc. is headquartered in Dallas, Texas. “

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