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Thursday's analyst upgrades and downgrades

Canadian competition regulator says hurdles remain on TMX Group-Maple Group proposal.

Norm Betts/Bloomberg News/Norm Betts/Bloomberg News

Inside the Market's roundup of some of today's key analyst actions. This file will be updated during the trading day. For breaking analyst actions prior to market open every day, read our Before the Bell morning report.

TMX Group Ltd., owner of the Toronto Stock Exchange, reported earnings per share this week above the consensus forecast, but RBC Dominion Securities analyst Geoffrey Kwan is warning investors to curb their enthusiasm.

While increasing his price target to $50 (Canadian) from $46, he reiterated an "underperform" rating because the recovery in capital markets is taking longer than he expected.

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"We believe the stock will be range-bound until the industry environment improves and/or a catalyst emerges," Mr. Kwan said in a research note.

TMX posted operating earnings per share in the fourth quarter of 96 cents, beating both Mr. Kwan's forecast and the Street consensus of 85 cents. The beat was mostly due to slightly higher revenues, including market data fee recoveries, and lower interest expenses. The weaker loonie also helped, because the TMX is mostly unhedged for its U.S. dollar exposure.

"Our underperform rating reflects our view that the continued challenging capital markets environment is likely to constrain exchange and capital market stocks in the near-term, including TMX. Furthermore, we believe the TMX's shares are fairly valued with the TMX Group's price to earnings multiple trading in line with its global exchange peers despite having the lowest ROE (return on equity), highest leverage and significantly higher exposure to the resources and energy sectors," he said.

The average analyst price target is $49.25, according to Thomson Reuters.


Desjardins Securities analyst Michael Parkin upgraded Detour Gold Corp. to a "top pick" rating from "buy" after the company released a life-of-mine plan for its Detour Lake project in northeastern Ontario.

He also raised his price target to $9.50 (Canadian) from $7.50, commenting that an overview of the project provided by the company to analysts has increased his "conviction" on the quality of the asset.

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"We regard Detour as a  company with above-average risk given the single producing asset base that remains in ramp-up  mode, but we believe the shares offer considerable upside from these levels," Mr. Parkin said. Financing challenges also remain, noted Mr. Parkin, who estimates Detour still needs to raise about $75-million (U.S.).

The new life-of-mine plan for the Detour Lake mine calls for annual gold production to average 660,000 ounces at  total cash costs of $657 (U.S.) per ounce over a 21.7-year mine life.

The average analyst target is $8.33.


Raymond James analyst Daryl Swetlishoff sees good times ahead for shares of Canfor Pulp Products Inc.

Robust pulp prices, weakness in the Canadian dollar and an improved cost structure should result in strong 2014 earnings, said Mr. Swetlishoff.

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He expects lower capital expenditures to further boost 2015 free cash flow, and he believes that market reaction to expanded hardwood capacity is overdone, and that demand for softwood pulp remains robust.

Mr. Swetlishoff upgraded Canfor to "outperform" from "strong buy" and increased his target price to $17.00 (Canadian) from $14.00. RBC Dominion Securities also raised its price target to $15 (Canadian) from $13 and reiterated an "outperform" rating.

The analyst consensus price target is $13.46.


Gildan Activewear Inc.'s stellar performance over the past year looks set to continue, said CIBC World Markets analyst Mark Petrie.

Mr. Petrie explains that first-quarter results were essentially in line with his expectations and management's guidance, and that Gildan will exit fiscal 2014 well positioned for growth.

"Though Gildan shares have performed well, we believe attractive upside remains," he said.

Mr. Petrie maintained his "sector outperformer" rating and increased his price target to $62 (U.S.) from $53.

The analyst consensus price target is $57.89 (U.S.).


The proposed shakeup of InnVest Real Estate Investment Trust`s board by a major unitholder is a "wake up call" for the REIT and should result in a higher price for its units, says Canaccord Genuity analyst Jenny Ma.

Orange Capital LLC, which controls 10.2 per cent of InnVest, announced earlier this week that it is seeking to replace seven trustees with nominees of its own. Orange Capital has an "Upgrade Program" ready to implement upon the election of its nominees, part of which will deal with unspecified "conflicts of interest" within InnVest's board.

"In our view, Orange Capital is well-positioned to successfully install part or all of its slate of independent trustees (which requires a majority of votes cast in favour) and getting an opportunity to effect change at InnVest," says Ms. Ma.

She maintained her "hold" rating and increased her price target to $5.30 (Canadian) from $4.70.

The analyst consensus price target is $4.99.


Sterne Agree downgraded Twitter to "underperform" from "neutral" with a price target of $43 (U.S.). UBS downgraded the stock to "sell from "neutral" and cut its price target to $42 (U.S.) from $45. Susquehanna cut its price target to $48 from $55 and reiterated a "neutral" rating.

(For more on what analysts are saying about Twitter after the company reported earnings late Wednesday, see Michael Babad's Morning Business Briefing.)


In other analyst actions:

Canaccord Genuity boosted its price target on Green Mountain Coffee to $117 (U.S.) from $95 and kept a "buy" rating.

Needham & Co. raised its price target on Yelp to $93 (U.S.) from $78 and maintained a "buy" rating. Raymond James upgraded the stock to "outperform" from "market perform" with a price target of $95 (U.S.). RBC Dominion Securities raised its price target to $88 from $60 and maintained a "sector perform" rating.

Canaccord Genuity upgraded Level 3 Communications to "buy" from "hold" and boosted its price target to $41 (U.S.) from $30.

HSBC upgraded Carnival to "overweight" from "neutral" with a price target of $43.50 (U.S.).

BMO Nesbitt Burns raised its price target on Disney to $80 (U.S.) from $75 and maintained an "outperform" rating.

Credit Suisse upgraded Akamai Technologies to "neutral" from "underperform" and raised its price target to $47.50 (U.S.) from $35.

Credit Suisse upgraded Compass Minerals International to "neutral" from "underperform" and raised its price target to $88 (U.S.) from $68.

BMO Nesbitt Burns upgraded Southwestern Energy to "outperform" from "market perform" and raised its price target to $50 (U.S.) from $45.

BMO Nesbitt Burns raised its price target on Sierra Wireless to $19 (U.S.) from $15 and maintained a "market perform" rating.

For more analyst actions, breaking investing news and analysis, follow Darcy Keith on Twitter at @eyeonequities

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