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7 Stocks With Upgrades: LM, SU, DO, KCG, HUN, VCI, MRH

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Knight Capital Group

The financial services firm reported last month fourth-quarter earnings of $40.2 million, or 43 cents a share, up from year-ago earnings of $9.2 million, or 10 cents.

"[January, 2012] volumes were mostly down on a yr/yr basis given tough compares and continued softness across markets," Wells Fargo analysts wrote in a Feb. 14 report. "However, US equities volumes were up from December and we think it likely volume activity accelerated at KCG through the month similar to performance at the e-brokers. While we are mildly encouraged by signs implying retail investor confidence is rising, conditions remain difficult, at least near term."

Shares of Knight Capital Group were upgraded to buy from hold by TheStreet Ratings.

Knight Capital Group has a forward P/E of 7.94; the average for investment services companies is 11.04. For comparison, NYSE Euronext (NYX) and Raymond James Financial (RJF) both have higher forward P/Es of 9.53 and 11.75, respectively.

Seven of the 11 analysts who cover Knight Capital Group rated it a hold; four analysts gave it a buy rating.

TheStreet Ratings gives Knight Capital Group a B grade with a $15.33 price target. The stock closed Friday at $13.27 and has increased 12.27% year to date.


Huntsman

The chemicals company reported last week fourth-quarter earnings of $68 million, or 28 cents a share, up from year-ago earnings of $60 million, or 25 cents.

"We are lowering 2012E EPS $0.25 to $1.55 and 2013E $0.15 to $1.75 to reflect a deterioration in the outlook for Pigments as pricing power appears likely to continue to lag raw material pressure, but by a wider margin than we had expected," Jefferies analysts wrote in a Feb. 17 report. "Polyurethanes should improve YoY, but the year hinges on price increases catching up with raw materials in 1H12. Advanced Materials should benefit from demand stabilization and a $20m (savings) restructuring program. Performance Products should see near-term pressure in specialty amines from capacity expansions."

Shares of Huntsman were upgraded to buy from hold by TheStreet Ratings.

"The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, impressive record of earnings per share growth, compelling growth in net income, attractive valuation levels and good cash flow from operations," TheStreet Ratings wrote. "We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows low profit margins."

Huntsman has a forward P/E of 6.47; the average for commercial chemicals companies is 12.3. For comparison, DuPont (DD) and Dow Chemical (DOW) both have higher forward P/Es of 10.71 and 10.24, respectively.

Of the 11 analysts who cover Huntsman, six rated it a hold and five gave it a buy rating.

TheStreet Ratings gives Huntsman a B- grade with a $16.16 price target. The stock closed Friday at $13.79 and has risen 37.9% year to date.

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SYM TRADE IT LAST %CHG
DO $23.11 4.00%
HUN $15.89 1.60%
KCG $11.24 0.99%
LM $42.75 0.14%
SU $26.78 1.60%

Markets

Chart of I:DJI
DOW 16,486.47 +135.09 0.83%
S&P 500 1,966.48 +17.62 0.90%
NASDAQ 4,780.5660 +30.5870 0.64%

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