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Stantec offices in Edmonton.

Inside the Market's roundup of some of today's key analyst actions. This file will be updated often during the trading day so check back for new details.

Desjardins Securities downgraded Gluskin Sheff & Associates Inc. to "hold" from "buy" while cutting its price target to $26.50 (Canadian) from $31.

Analyst Gary Ho said long-term fundamentals are "solid," but there are near-term headwinds to be concerned with, including competitor threats and higher expenses.

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"We see competition intensifying over the near to medium term as other players put greater emphasis on the high-net -worth market. General & Administrative expenses were up meaningfully in 4Q and could remain elevated. The current market volatility could have negative implications on net flows, assets under management (affects other asset managers as well) and performance fees. Lastly, while Gluskin's shares have been under pressure recently, valuations for the sector as a whole have suffered. That said, longer term, our favourable view on the HNW segment remains unchanged and Gluskin should stand to benefit. With the 11% dividend increase announced yesterday, shares are yielding 4.6% (including the upcoming special dividend) and investors are getting paid to wait. Lastly, we believe cross-selling to Blair Franklin clients represent a solid opportunity, but could take 12–24 months to materialize," Mr. Ho said in a note.

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With Capstone Mining Corp.'s (CS-T) shares down and lower commodity prices, BMO Capital Markets has revisited its outlook for the company.

"Capstone's share price has been sliding lower, arguably in sympathy with extended weakness in the copper price. We have revisited our assumptions for the company and decided to lower the multiple applied to company's NPV [net present value] in deriving our target price from 0.8 times to 0.4times. The lower NPV multiple recognizes increased uncertainty in Capstone's ability to pursue its growth objectives (e.g., production extension/expansion at Pinto Valley) given potentially extended copper price weakness. Capstone's above-average AISC [all-in sustaining cost] ($2.49 (U.S.) per pound in 2015 and $2.05/lb in 2016) magnifies the company's operational leverage, making it vulnerable to near-term weakness in commodity prices."

BMO lowered its price target to $1.30 from $2.50 but maintained its "outperform" rating. The analyst consensus is $2.04, according to Thomson Reuters.

======

Sherritt International (S-T) has eliminated its one cent per share quarterly dividend and cut its capital spending budget for this year, with additional cuts expected for next year. This is to help improve its balance sheet in a challenging market, said Desjardins Securities analyst Jackie Przybylowski.

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"These moves will provide additional liquidity, which may be used to fund the Ambatovy operations (Sherritt's share of 2015 cash calls could be at the high end of the $50 to $100-million guidance range) and to fund Ambatovy's financial completion certificate (Sherrit's share is about $50-million)," the analyst said.

"We note that funds with a dividend mandate could now be precluded from holding positions in the company. As Sherritt will also be removed from indices including the S&P/TSX composite index today, we could see significant selling pressure over the next few weeks," Desjardins said.

Desjardins kept its "hold" with above-average risk rating and increased its target to $2.15 from $2.10. The analyst consensus is $3.58, according to Thomson Reuters.

Meanwhile, TD Securities downgraded the stock to "hold" from "speculative buy" with a 12-month target price of $1.25 (Canadian) per share.

======

AltaCorp Capital Research is revising lower its organic growth estimates for Stantec Inc. (STN-T;STN-N) "with the acknowledgement by management that their earlier 2 per cent organic growth guidance is likely unachievable given a further deterioration in energy market conditions" since the company made that announcement in the second quarter of this year. "Management indicated flat to slightly negative organic growth is a more likely outcome for 2015," analyst Chris Murray said.

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"We have revised our expectations for energy growth to be down 18.5 per cent in 2015, from down 12.4 per cent previously," Mr. Murray wrote.

"We believe the company's business model remains highly resilient in the face of these challenges and believe the recent pullback offers long-term investors an opportunity to acquire shares at lower than normal valuations," the analyst said.

Mr. Murray kept his "outperform" rating but reduced his target price to $40 (Canadian) from $41. The analyst consensus is $36.77.

======

In other analyst actions:

Long Run Exploration Ltd. (LRE-T) was downgraded to "Underperform" from "Sector Perform" at RBC Capital. The 12-month target price is 30 cent (Canadian) per share.

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Manitok Energy Inc. (MEI-X) was downgraded to "Underperform" from "Sector Perform" at RBC Capital. The 12-month target price is 50 cents (Canadian) per share.

Perpetual Energy Inc. (PMT-T) was downgraded to "Sector Perform" from "Outperform" at RBC Capital. The 12-month target price is$1 (Canadian) per share.

Aetna Inc. (AET US) was raised to "Buy" from "Hold" at Cantor Fitzgerald. The 12-month target price is $140 (U.S.) per share.

Apple Hospitality REIT Inc. (APLE US) was rated new "Market Outperform" at JMP Securities. The 12-month target price is $23 (U.S.) per share.

Core Laboratories NV (CLB US) was raised to "Outperform" from "Sector Perform" at RBC Capital. The 12-month target price is $130 (U.S.)per share.

CLARCOR Inc. (CLC US) was downgraded to "Neutral" from "Outperform" at Robert Baird. The 12-month target price is $53 (U.S.) per share.

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Dillard's Inc. (DDS US) was raised to "Neutral" from "Underperform" at Credit Suisse. The target price is $95 (U.S.) per share.

Essex Property Trust Inc. (ESS US) was raised to "Buy" from "Hold" at Cantor Fitzgerald. The 12-month target price is $251 (U.S.) per share.

FMC Corp. (FMC US) was raised to "Outperform" from "Market Perform" at Cowen. The 12-month target price is $51 (U.S.) per share.

Golar LNG Ltd. (GLNG US) was rated new "Neutral" at Credit Suisse. The target price is $40 (U.S.) per share.

Goldman Sachs BDC Inc. (GSBD US) was raised to "Outperform" from "Market Perform" at Raymond James. The 12-month target price is $23 (U.S.) per share.

Helmerich & Payne Inc. (HP US) was downgraded to "Sector Perform" from "Outperform" at RBC Capital. The 12-month target price is $55 (U.S.) per share.

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iRobot Corp. (IRBT US) was downgraded to "Market Perform" from "Outperform" at Raymond James by equity analyst Brian Gesuale.

Swift Energy Co. (SFY US) was downgraded to "Sector Perform" from "Outperform" at RBC Capital. The 12-month target price is 50 cents (U.S.) per share.

US Silica Holdings Inc. (SLCA US) was downgraded to "Sector Perform" from "Outperform" at RBC Capital. The 12-month target price is $20 (U.S.) per share.

Superior Energy Services Inc. (SPN US) was downgraded to "Sector Perform" from "Outperform" at RBC Capital. The 12-month target price is $17 (U.S.) per share.

Wolverine World Wide Inc. (WWW US) was downgraded to "Neutral" from "Outperform" at Robert Baird. The target price is $27 (U.S.) per share.

With files from Bloomberg News

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