Stock Upgrades Downgrades for July 18, 2017

Stockwinners’ analysts upgrades, downgrades and initiations for July 18, 2017

Everyday, we will e-mail our readers a list of analysts actions as shown below. Please see below on how to sign up for Stockwinners’ Service.

 

STOCK UPGRADES

CMG Chipotle to Buy from Hold at Maxim
CMG Chipotle to Buy on queso launch at Maxim
IPXL Impax to Neutral from Underweight at Piper Jaffray
MMP Magellan Midstream to Buy from Neutral at UBS
NFLX Netflix to Buy from Neutral at Rosenblatt
OAS Oasis Petroleum to Buy from Hold at Williams Capital
ORLY O’Reilly Automotive to Buy from Neutral at Northcoast
QDEL Quidel to Outperform from Market Perform at William Blair
SC Santander Consumer to Outperform from Market Perform at JMP Securities
SEAS SeaWorld to Neutral from Sell at Goldman Sachs
SEDG SolarEdge to Outperform at Oppenheimer
SEDG SolarEdge to Outperform from Perform at Oppenheimer
SKX Skechers to Positive from Mixed at OTR Global

DOWNGRADES

ADP ADP to Equal Weight from Overweight at Barclays
CCJ Cameco to Underperform at Credit Suisse
COG Cabot Oil & Gas to Hold from Buy at Williams Capital
DDC Dominion Diamond to Market Perform from Outperform at BMO Capital
DDC Dominion Diamond to Hold from Buy at Gabelli
DNN Denison Mines to Underperform from Neutral at Credit Suisse
EXLS ExlService to Neutral from Buy at Citi
FMC FMC Corporation to Neutral from Buy at Seaport Global
FPI Farmland Partners to Market Perform from Outperform at FBR Capital
IPGP IPG Photonics to Hold from Buy at Canaccord
NYLD NRG Yield to Hold from Buy at Deutsche Bank
OAS Oasis Petroleum to Hold from Buy at Deutsche Bank
OAS Oasis Petroleum to Hold at Deutsche Bank
QEP QEP Resources to Hold from Buy at Deutsche Bank
SSL Sasol to Neutral from Overweight at JPMorgan
UAA Under Armour to Negative from Mixed at OTR Global

STOCK INITIATIONS

DC Agree Realty with a Buy at Canaccord
ADRO Aduro Biotech with an Outperform at Cowen
ALBO Albireo Pharma with a Buy at Needham
BFAM Bright Horizons with a Buy at Citi
BHGE Baker Hughes resinstated with a Sell at Goldman Sachs
CVNA Carvana with a Neutral at Wedbush
FANG Diamondback Energy with an Outperform at Imperial Capital
FCPT Four Corners Property Trust with a Hold at Canaccord
GOOD Gladstone with a Hold at Canaccord
GPMT Granite Point Mortgage with an Overweight at JPMorgan
GPMT Granite Point Mortgage with a Market Perform at Keefe Bruyette
GTY Getty Realty with a Buy at Canaccord
INFN Infinera with a Buy at Craig-Hallum
MSCI MSCI with an Equal Weight at Barclays
MTDR Matador with an Outperform at Imperial Capital
O Realty Income with a Buy at Canaccord
OMF OneMain Holdings with a Buy at DA Davidson
REN Resolute Energy with an Outperform at Imperial Capital
RM Regional Management with a Neutral at DA Davidson
TAL TAL Education with a Neutral at Citi
TWOU 2U with a Buy at Citi
WPX WPX Energy with an Outperform at Imperial Capital

STOCKWINNERS

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Barron’s is Bullish on Adidas, Cisco, Whirlpool and Gilead

Barron’s, the weekly publication owned by the Wall Street Journal, in its latest issue is bullish on several names. They include:

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Adidas could double as profit margins expand, Barron’s says – Despite the nearly 40% run up in the past 12 months, adidas (ADDYY) shares still have significant upside, particularly if the company can make good on its goal of achieving the lofty profit margins of rival Nike (NKE), Victor Reklaitis writes in this week’s edition of Barron’s, citing portfolio managers for European equities at Hermes Investment Management.

Vertex, Gilead seen as innovators, Barron’s says – Jason #Kritzer and Samantha Pandolfi, co-managers of Eaton Vance Worldwide Health Sciences fund, believe it is “a great time” to invest in the health care sector, with a lot of innovation under way by drugmakers, medical-device companies and companies developing technologies used to deliver health care, Johanna Bennett writes in this week’s edition of Barron’s. Eaton Vance finds innovation in Vertex (VRTX), Zoetis (ZTS), and Gilead (GILD), publication notes.

Visteon rally far from over, Barron’s says – In a follow-up story, Barron’s tells readers that while shares of Visteon (VC) are up sharply this year, due to the popularity of the company’s auto electronics, the stock could have more room to run. Rapid earnings growth could power Visteon’s shares to $116 from $105, and a deal could lift them even higher, the publication notes, adding that potential buyers include nontraditional auto plays, such as Apple (AAPL) and Alphabet (GOOGL; GOOG), which are developing driverless cars.

Cisco seems undervalued as future looks brighter, Barron’s says – Seen as “Old Tech,” Cisco (CSCO) seems overlooked, while Verint Systems appears overvalued, Vito Racanelli writes in this week’s edition of Barron’s. With its 3.7% dividend yield, the former could be just “the ticket for a healthy-double-digit annual return” with somewhat low downside over the next 24 months, the publication notes.

Trade policy may favor some Americans over others, Barron’s say – Steel tariffs and import restrictions may secure profits for steel mills and employment for steel workers, but will inevitably drive up the cost of any product, Thomas Donlan writes in this week’s edition of Barron’s, noting that other American companies are the customers of the U.S. steel industry and protectionism will not put them first. While protecting steel is supposed to solidify national defense, protectionism actually “hardens the economic arteries of commerce,” Donlan added. Companies that may be impacted by Trump’s potential steel tariffs include U.S. Steel (X), AK Steel (AKS), Nucor (NUE), Steel Dynamics (STLD), ArcelorMittal (MT), Alcoa (AA), and Century Aluminum (CENX).

Whirlpool could rise 35% next year, Barron’s says – Whirlpool (WHR) is a “cash machine” for shareholders, and despite coping with the aftermath of the U.S. housing crisis, price competition from South Korean rivals, and troubled markets like Brazil, the maker of washers, dryers, dishwashers, ovens, and refrigerators has more than doubled earnings since 2012, Robin Goldwyn Blumenthal writes in this week’s edition of Barron’s. The shares remain cheap, the publication noted, but the stock may be worth about $260 a share, or 35% higher, if Whirlpool can continue to execute well in the year ahead.

Orion Engineered aiming for continued gains, Barron’s says – The carbon-black market is growing twice as fast as the commodity business and is more profitable, Nicholas #Jasinski writes in this week’s edition of Barron’s. Orion Engineered (OEC) is the smallest of the three key global players, after Cabot (CBT) and Aditya Birla, but is the largest in the specialty carbon-black market, and “a little gem hiding in all of this black dust,” the publication noted. Orion’s long-term relationships with customers give the company the bargaining power to negotiate contracts indexed to the cost of carbon black’s main input, namely oil, the report added.

Bearish Names

Premium video on demand may pressure movie-theater operators, Barron’s says – This year, stocks of AMC Entertainment (AMC), Regal Entertainment (RGC) and Cinemark (CNK) have declined due to a “mediocre” summer box office on franchise fatigue, more beguiling choices on Netflix (NFLX) or Amazon (AMZN), and as technology is changing people shop, Kopin Tan writes in this week’s edition of Barron’s. Studios and distributors like Comcast’s (CMCSA; CMCSK) Universal Pictures or Walt Disney (DIS) are now debating how to roll out “premium video-on-demand,” which lets viewers watch a movie within a day to 50 days after it hits the big screen, the publication adds, pointing out that while this can benefit the studios, theaters will have much to lose.

Verint looks overvalued given performance, Barron’s says – Riding the “tech momentum” but looking overvalued, Verint Systems weakening track record over the past four years suggests that investor enthusiasm is misplaced, Vito Racanelli writes in this week’s edition of Barron’s. Verint Systems (VRNT) does not look like a tech company with sustainable growth, with its revenue growth dropping steadily, the report notes.

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Semiconductor Revenue to surpass $400B in 2017

Gartner sees worldwide semiconductor revenue surpassing $400B in 2017

Worldwide semiconductor revenue surpassing $400B in 2017, See Stockwinners Market Radar

Worldwide semiconductor revenue is forecast to total $401.4B in 2017, an increase of 16.8% from 2016, according to Gartner, Inc.

This will be the first time semiconductor revenue has surpassed $400B.

The market reached the $300B milestone seven years ago, in 2010, and surpassed $200B in 2000.

“A shortage of memory is creating a boom in the overall semiconductor market,” said Andrew Norwood, research vice president at Gartner (IT).

“Memory vendors have been able to increase their price for DRAM and NAND, driving revenue and margins higher.” The booming memory market, with revenue forecast to increase 52% in 2017, is expected to shake up semiconductor market share rankings.

“As the largest memory supplier, Samsung Electronics (SSNLF) is set to gain the most,” said Norwood.

“This gives Samsung its best shot at capturing the No. 1 position from Intel (INTC) for the first time.”

Other publicly traded companies in the space include AMD (AMD), Marvell (MRVL), Microchip (MCHP), Micron (MU), Nvidia (NVDA), Qualcomm (QCOM) and Texas Instruments (TXN).

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MetLife to Buy Fortress Investment’s Logan for $250 Million

MetLife to acquire Logan Circle Partners for roughly $250M in cash

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MetLife (MET) and Fortress Investment Group (FIG) announced a definitive agreement for MetLife to acquire Logan Circle Partners, L.P., Fortress’ traditional fixed income asset management business, for approximately $250M in cash.

Following the anticipated separation of Brighthouse Financial next month and assuming the closing of the Logan Circle Partners acquisition, MetLife’s Investment Management business would have more than $560B in total assets under management, of which more than $140B would be managed on behalf of third parties.

Under the terms of the agreement, MetLife will acquire 100% of Fortress’ ownership stake in Logan Circle Partners.

This transaction will not impact MetLife’s existing $3B repurchase authorization, which is expected to be completed by year-end 2017. The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals, and is expected to close in the third quarter of 2017.

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Digital Ally Wins Patent, Shares Jump

Digital Ally announces denial of Axon request to invalidate ‘452 patent

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Digital Ally (DGLY) announces a significant victory in its legal battles against Axon Enterprise (AAXN).

On July 6, the U.S. Patent Office denied Axon’s petition for inter partes review, or IPR, of Digital’s Patent No. 9,253,452.

The Patent Office rejected every single ground of invalidity that Axon put forward challenging claims 7-10 and 20. These are the exact claims at issue in Digital’s litigation against Axon.

The Patent Office further found that “…the information presented [by Axon] in the Petition does not establish a reasonable likelihood that would prevail in showing the unpatentability of any of the challenged claims on the grounds set forth in the Petition.”

The ‘452 Patent generally covers the automatic activation and coordination of multiple recording devices in response to a triggering event such as a law enforcement officer activating the light bar on the vehicle.

This pioneering invention eliminates the burden of manually activating multiple recording devices when law enforcement officers are responding to an emergent situation. This invention will help to guarantee that all relevant evidence is captured, even if an officer forgets to activate his cameras.

With this loss, the company believes that the practical availability of Axon’s litigation defenses is now severely limited, principally leaving infringement and damages to be resolved.

Additionally, because Axon waited until nearly the expiration of its one-year time limit within which to file the most recent IPRs, Axon is now barred from filing any further IPRs against the ‘452 Patent, as well as against Digital’s Patent No. 8,781,292.

Digital Ally, Inc. produces digital video imaging and storage products for use in law enforcement, security, and commercial applications in the United States and internationally.

Axon Enterprise, Inc. develops, manufactures, and sells conducted electrical weapons (CEWs) worldwide. The company operates through two segments, TASER Weapons and Axon.

DGLY closed at $3.15, shares are up more than $2 in Friday’s pre-market trading. AAXN closed at $25.05.

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Qatar to Buy 36 F-15 for $12 billion

Qatar signed a deal to buy as many as 36 F-15 Boeing jets

Congress last year approved sale of as many as 72 F-15s to Qatar

 

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Qatar signed a deal to buy as many as 36 F-15 jets from the U.S. as the two countries navigate tensions over President Donald Trump’s backing for a Saudi-led coalition’s move to isolate the country for supporting terrorism.

The sale “will give Qatar a state of the art capability and increase security cooperation and interoperability between the United States and Qatar,” the Defense Department said in a statement.

Congress last year approved sale of as many as 72 F-15s in an agreement valued at as much as $21 billion, providing authorization for the deal completed yesterday. But that was before Qatar’s neighbors, including Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates, severed diplomatic, trade and transport links last week in a move they said was aimed at isolating the country for its support of terrorist groups and Iran.

The F-15 sale highlights the complex position the Trump administration finds itself in, forced to balance its focus on fighting terrorism against regional rivalries between key allies. Qatar hosts the regional headquarters for U.S. Central Command, which includes a state-of-the-art air base the U.S. depends on to target Islamic State.

Qatar’s Defense Ministry said the deal would create 60,000 jobs in 42 U.S. states while reducing the burden on U.S. forces. The F-15 accord will lead to “closer strategic collaboration in our fight to counter violent extremism and promote peace and stability in our region and beyond,” the ministry said in a statement.

Last year, after the State Department approved the jet sale, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency issued a report saying that the proposed sale “enhances the foreign policy and national security of the United State by helping to improve the security of a friendly country and strengthening our strategically important relationship.”

The McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle is now owned by Boeing (BA) has been exported to Israel, Japan, and Saudi Arabia.

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Senator Warren Calls for Investigation of TransDigm

Warren is seeking information on how the company prices parts for which it is the sole supplier to the government

She is the third law maker who has called for investigation of TransDigm

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Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren has sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Defense urging an investigation into TransDigm’s pricing model following similar requests by other U.S. representatives, CNBC reports, citing the letter.

“As a member of the Senate Committee on Armed Services, I have also been monitoring reports that suggest TransDigm WorldWide has used a variety of tactics to avoid sharing cost information with the government for parts for which it is the sole source supplier…These reports further show that TransDigm has unreasonably raised prices on many parts shortly after completing acquisitions of the companies that produce them,” she wrote.

TransDigm Group (TDG) designs, produces, and supplies aircraft components in the United States. The company’s Power & Control segment provides mechanical/electro-mechanical actuators and controls, ignition systems and engine technology, specialized pumps and valves, power conditioning devices, specialized AC/DC electric motors and generators, databus and power controls, hoists, winches and lifting devices, and cargo loading and handling systems.

Warren’s call for a probe into the aerospace component supplier follows similar requests from U.S. Representatives Ro Khanna and Tim Ryan.

“I look forward to working with your office, and the Department of Defense to ensure that our service members continue to receive the best made equipment while also ensuring that taxpayers continue to receive fair value,” wrote Warren to the Secretary of Defense, Jim Mattis.

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The article does not constitute investment advice. Each reader is encouraged to consult with his or her individual financial professional and any action a reader takes as a result of information presented here is his or her own responsibility.