Equity Brief: Ratings Changes for November 14th: NQ, NTI, OAS, PACW, POT, PPC, PTX, RCL, REXX

A number of stocks were upgraded and downgraded by equities research analysts today, as reported by Analyst Ratings Network (http://bit.ly/equitybriefdaily) and Equity Brief:

Canaccord Genuity reiterated its buy rating on shares of NQ Mobile (NYSE: NQ).

Deutsche Bank downgraded shares of Northern Tier Energy (NYSE: NTi) from a buy rating to a hold rating. Their analysts now have a $25.00 price target on the stock. They wrote, "Variable payout Mid Con refining MLP Northern Tier (NTI) reported clean earnings of $1.42/unit vs DBe at $1.43 and consensus of $1.64. The excellent quarterly profitability implies exceedingly cheap valuation, so that quarterly adjusted EBITDA of $250m represents annualized EV/EBITDA of 2.2x, while the $1.48/unit distribution for only 2 months since the IPO implies 35% annual yield. However, we see a seasonal sequential decline in earnings in Q4 followed by typically-weak Q1 and costly turnarounds, and on a normalized mid-cycle distribution basis the stock looks fully valued. We are in a cyclical short term negative stance on refining."

SunTrust upgraded shares of Oasis Petroleum Inc. (NYSE: OAS) from a neutral rating to a buy rating. SunTrust now has a $40.00 price target on the stock, up previously from $33.00.

Wunderlich upgraded shares of PacWest Bancorp (NASDAQ: PACW) from a hold rating to a buy rating. Wunderlich now has a $29.00 price target on the stock, up previously from $25.00. They wrote, "We are upgrading shares of PacWest Bancorp (NASDAQ: PACW) to Buy from Hold, and we are raising our price target by $4 to $29 after the company announced the long-awaited acquisition of First California Financial Group (FCAL - NR) on November 6. Originally, PacWest announced its intention to acquire FCAL in May 2012, and after several months, the two companies finally agreed to terms with an expected closing in 1Q13. The combination will create the 8th largest financial institution headquartered in California and a leading commercial bank in Southern California. PACW trades at less than 11 times earnings with a 4.4% yield, representing an attractive entry point for long-term investors."

Canaccord Genuity downgraded shares of Potash Corp (NYSE: POT) from a buy rating to a hold rating. Their analysts now have a $43.00 price target on the stock, down previously from $48.00. They wrote, "We have lowered our rating on the shares of Potash Corp to a HOLD from Buy previously and have lowered our target price to US$43 (from US$48 previously), based upon a 12.5x multiple to our blended 2013E/2014E EPS of US$3.44. . The market is currently in oversupply, 25% of the annual consumption that is China and India is playing passively at the moment, and the spot markets can sense the near-term price erosion as a result and have become more aggressive in their price demands as well as more passive regarding their timing of purchases. Even though we have seen good US potash demand this fall, quarterly earnings have once again become quite volatile due to the lumpy nature of sales volumes in this environment."

Imperial Capital raised its price target on shares of Pilgrims Pride Corp (PPC) from $5.00 to $7.00. They have an in-line rating on the stock.

Noble Financial downgraded shares of Pernix Therapeutics Holdings Inc (PTX) from a buy rating to a hold rating.

Argus upgraded shares of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (RCL) from a hold rating to a buy rating. Argus now has a $40.00 price target on the stock.

Imperial Capital upgraded shares of Rex Energy (REXX) from an in rating to an outperform rating. Imperial Capital now has a $16.00 price target on the stock, up previously from $14.00. They wrote, "We believe the company issued an outstanding proved reserve report and update and shares are now more attractive from a cash flow and asset value standpoint. As a result of the increased asset value, and earnings and cash flow estimates, as well as the meaningful catalysts we see on the horizon, particularly from the Utica shale in the Guernsey/Noble County area, thus leading us to upgrade our rating to Outperform and increase our price target to $16.00/share."

Caris & Co. downgraded shares of Regal Entertainment (RGC) from an above average rating to an average rating.

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