Investment Analysts’ Upgrades for May, 17th (AXL, DDS, DFS, ETFC, EWBC, FLS, INFY, ITT, KR, SAIC)

Share on StockTwits

Investment Analysts’ upgrades for Friday, May 17th:

American Axle & Manufact. (NYSE:AXL) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a sell rating to a hold rating. According to Zacks, “In the first quarter of 2019, American Axle’s adjusted earnings surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate while revenues missed the same. Its improved operational efficiencies and program launches is likely to drive financials in 2019. Further, the Further, the company has been working on reducing launching costs through cost reduction synergies and business consolidation. Also, American Axle’s efforts of diversifying its business, products and customer base are generating incremental revenues.”

Dillard’s (NYSE:DDS) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a sell rating to a hold rating. According to Zacks, “Dillard’s has fared better than the industry year to date, owing to a robust earnings surprise trend. While the company reported in-line earnings in first-quarter fiscal 2019, the bottom line beat estimates in five of the last seven quarters. Though the top line missed estimates, it improved year over year, driven by strong performance across most categories. However, the bottom line declined year over year due to higher markdowns, which also impacted margins. Consolidated gross margin witnessed steeper decline compared with retail operations mainly due to increased markdowns. Nonetheless, the company’s efforts to capitalize on growth opportunities in physical stores and e-commerce bode well. Its strategy of offering fashion-forward and trendy products acts as a catalyst for attracting more customers. Its focus on boosting productivity, enhancing domestic operations and developing omni-channel should strengthen customer base.”

Discover Financial Services (NYSE:DFS) 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, “Discover Financial’s  shares have outperformed the industry year to date. Its strong Direct Banking business has significantly supported its top line. The company’s loan and Payment Services transaction, dollar volume growth and card sales also look promising. The company's effective capital management impresses investors. Revenues of the company have been rising over the past few years, mainly driven by higher net interest incomes and other total income of the company. However, it has been incurring costs to compete with other credit card issuers. Escalating expenses, high provision for losses, and increase in debt level are some headwinds.”

E*TRADE Financial (NASDAQ:ETFC) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a hold rating to a buy rating. They currently have $54.00 target price on the stock. According to Zacks, “Shares of E*TRADE have outperformed the industry over the past three months. Also, the company has an impressive earnings surprise history. It surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate for earnings in each of the trailing four quarters. First-quarter results benefited from higher revenues, decline in expenses and benefit to provision for loan losses. The company’s several restructuring measures and balance-sheet growth plans keep us encouraged. Also, E*TRADE’s focus on core operations and strategic initiatives along with rising interest rates will likely lead to an improved top-line performance. Though rising costs due to the company's investments in franchise, remain a major concern, the company continues to enhance shareholders’ value through capital deployment activities.”

East West Bancorp (NASDAQ:EWBC) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a sell rating to a hold rating. According to Zacks, “East West Bancorp's shares have underperformed the industry over the past six months. Yet, the company has an impressive earnings surprise history. It surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate in three of the trailing four quarters. The company’s first-quarter 2019 results were adversely impacted by lower non-interest income, and rise in expenses and provisions. Continued rise in operating expenses will likely hurt profitability to some extent. As the company continues to make investments in technology, overall expenses are bound to increase. Moreover, deteriorating credit quality remains a major near-term concern and will likely hurt its financials. However, increase in loans and deposits along with relatively higher interest rates and strong balance sheet position are expected to support the company’s revenue growth. Also, consistent dividend payments will continue to enhance shareholder value.”

Flowserve (NYSE:FLS) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a hold rating to a buy rating. Zacks Investment Research currently has $57.00 price target on the stock. According to Zacks, “Over the past three months, Flowserve's shares have outperformed the industry. We believe that the company is poised to benefit from strengthening end markets as well as realignment and transformational initiatives in the long run. Also, the combined businesses of Engineered Product Division and Industrial Product Division will enable it to better control operations and serve customers in the global pumps market. Its policy of rewarding shareholders handsomely through dividend payments raised its appeal. In first-quarter 2019, its earnings surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 20.6% and recorded year-over-year growth of 51.9%. For 2019, the company anticipates adjusted earnings per share of $1.95-$2.15, higher than $1.75 recorded in 2018. Revenues are predicted to grow 4-6%. In the past 30 days, earnings estimates for the company have increased for 2019 and 2020.”

Infosys (NYSE:INFY) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a sell rating to a hold rating. According to Zacks, “Infosys is benefiting from large deal wins and fast growing digital services. The top line is driven by strong demand for cloud, IoT, cyber plus data and analytics-related services. The company’s focus on Agile Digital and AI-driven Core services is a tailwind. Higher spending on the digital, analytics, cloud, cybersecurity and other new technology domains is a key driver for Infosys. Shares have outperformed the industry in the past year. However, Infosys is suffering from an unfavorable political climate in the United States and the increasing anti-outsourcing sentiment in certain countries. Notably, higher subcontractor costs, and the company’s compensation revision with a higher variable pay and incentives are weighing on margins. Further, the company’s business is highly prone to the currency volatility between the Indian rupee and the U.S. dollar.”

ITT (NYSE:ITT) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a hold rating to a buy rating. Zacks Investment Research currently has $68.00 price target on the stock. According to Zacks, “Over the past three months, ITT has outperformed the industry. The company expects that strength in the chemical, mining, commercial aerospace and defense businesses, and higher demand for connectors and growth in automotive friction orders will drive its revenues in the quarters ahead. Also, operational execution, fall in functional corporate costs, increased productivity and stronger sales volumes are expected to boost near-term profitability. ITT currently expects revenue growth of 3-5% for 2019, higher than the 2-4% range predicted earlier. In addition, the company intends to become more competent on the back of innovation investments. Moreover, the Rheinhutte Pumpen buyout will expand the company’s Industrial Process segment’s portfolio of engineered industrial pump technologies, and is likely to be accretive to earnings in the initial year of its completion.”

Kroger (NYSE:KR) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a sell rating to a hold rating. According to Zacks, “Shares of Kroger have plunged and underperformed the industry in the past three months. The stock came under pressure following the company’s fourth-quarter fiscal 2018 results, wherein the bottom line not only missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate but also declined year over year. Although, total sales managed to come ahead of the consensus mark, it fell year over year. Management also provided muted earnings view for fiscal 2019. Nonetheless, Kroger is trying to overcome competition. It is introducing digital coupons, order online pick up in store and smart shopping lists. The “Restock Kroger” program is also gaining traction. The grocery industry is no longer shielded from the e-commerce war. Given this scenario, the Ocado deal along with the buyout of Home Chef and using of Nuro’s self-driven car for grocery delivery services are good moves. Kroger also remains committed to improve identical supermarket sales and margins.”

Science Applications International (NYSE:SAIC) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a hold rating to a buy rating. Zacks Investment Research currently has $88.00 price target on the stock. According to Zacks, “Science Applications is benefiting from higher orders in supply chain and continued contract wins. Moreover, management is optimistic about its long-term strategy called Ingenuity 2025, which it expects to accelerate with the acquisition of Engility.  New contracts supporting IT modernization coupled with the acquisition of Engility is a key growth driver.  The company expects to deliver increased customer access, higher investments in competitive and niche solutions and improved cash flow in the coming year. Estimates have been going up ahead of the company’s fiscal Q1 earnings release. The company has positive record of earnings surprises in recent quarters. However, revenue concentration is a major risk for Science Applications. Further, competition in the emerging growth segment is also a concern. Shares have underperformed the industry in the past year.”

J M Smucker (NYSE:SJM) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a hold rating to a buy rating. Zacks Investment Research currently has $141.00 price target on the stock. According to Zacks, “Smucker’s shares have outperformed the industry in the past three months. The company has been gaining from a strong brand position. Markedly, acquisitions have played a crucial role in strengthening the company’s brand portfolio and boosting sales. In fact, during the third quarter of fiscal 2019, net sales increased 6% year over year, mainly driven by the Ainsworth buyout and gains from the company’s growth brands. Further the company is on track with innovation, especially in the pet foods category. Apart from these, the company also remains focused on cost reduction and boosting e-commerce. On the flip side, Smucker’s performance in the third quarter was weighed down by negative impacts from the divestiture of the U.S. baking business. Moreover, lower net price realization dented performance in the U.S. Retail Coffee as well as the International and Away from Home segments.  Persistence of such headwinds are worries.”

Sohu.com (NASDAQ:SOHU) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a sell rating to a hold rating. According to Zacks, “Sohu’s first-quarter 2019 loss narrowed on a year-over-year basis owing to the company’s cost-saving initiatives. The company’s top-line exceeded the guided range due to strong performance of its search and game businesses. Additionally, Sohu improved content on its Media Portal platform by strengthening partnerships with quality content providers. This is expected to improve user engagement levels. Moreover, Sogou’s search and mobile keyboard witnessed healthy growth by using its artificial intelligence (AI) technology. However, seasonality and sluggish macroeconomic conditions in China negatively impacted ad revenues in the reported quarter. Moreover, decline in video and portal advertising revenues negatively impacted brand advertising revenues. Notably, shares have underperformed the industry over the past year.”

Stryker (NYSE:SYK) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a hold rating to a buy rating. Zacks Investment Research currently has $208.00 target price on the stock. According to Zacks, “Stryker continues to gain from its core MedSurg unit which put up a strong show in the reported quarter. Additionally, strength in flagship Mako platform continues to favor the company. Moreover, its K2M acquisition drove the core Neurotechnology & Spine unit in the quarter under review. Solid international growth also buoys optimism. Expansion in operating margin is a positive while strong outlook for 2019 is indicative of bright prospects. Stryker has outperformed the industry in a year’s time. Stryker exited the first quarter of 2019 on a solid note, with earnings surpassing the consensus mark and revenues increasing on a year-over-year basis. However, contraction in gross margin raises concern. Additionally, revenues in the first quarter were impacted by unfavorable foreign currency movement. Pricing pressure also continues to plague Stryker. Stiff competition in the MedTech space remains a headwind.”

Textainer Group (NYSE:TGH) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a hold rating to a strong-buy rating. Zacks Investment Research currently has $12.00 price target on the stock. According to Zacks, “TEXTAINER GROUP is the worlds largest lessor of intermodal containers with a total fleet of more than 1.3 million containers, representing over 2,000,000 TEU. They lease containers to more than 400 shipping lines and other lessees, including each of the world’s top 20 container lines. Yhey are also the primary supplier of leased containers to the U.S. Military. Their goal is to be the most reliable lessor of containers in locations where their customers need them. They have provided an average of more than 100,000 TEU of new containers per year for the past 10 years, and have been one of the largest purchasers of new containers among container lessors over the same period. They are also one of the largest sellers of used containers , having sold an average of more than 53,000 containers per year for the last five years. “

United Community Financial (NASDAQ:UCFC) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a sell rating to a hold rating. According to Zacks, “United Community Financial Corporation is a very traditional savings and loan company. While the company intends to remain committed to financing home ownership, it also believes it must gradually expand the types of loan products it offers in order to meet the needs of its market area and to improve profitability. The company began to commit substantial resources to the commercial lending area, which is headed and staffed by individuals with very extensive commercial banking experience. “

Receive News & Ratings for American Axle & Manufact Holdings Inc Daily - Enter your email address below to receive a concise daily summary of the latest news and analysts' ratings for American Axle & Manufact Holdings Inc and related companies with MarketBeat.com's FREE daily email newsletter.