NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of Alon USA Energy (ALJ) are up by 0.15% to $6.56 in mid-morning trading on Wednesday, as stock was upgraded to "equal weight" from "underweight" at Barclays earlier today. 

The rating change comes as the firm no longer believes "it will underperform the sector, given its already depressed valuation."

The Dallas, TX-based energy company has "significantly underperformed since the end of 2012" partially due to its "subpar" refining assets, according to the analyst note. But "the shares' poor performance has now fairly reflected the poor asset quality, in our view." 

Alon recently issued an update on its strategic review process it started in April, reports Yahoo. The company formed a special committee to look at a potential acquisition by Delek U.S. Holdings (DK), but announced yesterday that it has made no decision on the deal. 

Additionally, the firm cut the company's price target to $8 from $10. 

Alon will announce its fiscal 2016 second quarter results on July 28, after the market closes. 

Separately, TheStreet Ratings objectively rated this stock according to its "risk-adjusted" total return prospect over a 12-month investment horizon. Not based on the news in any given day, the rating may differ from Jim Cramer's view or that of this articles's author. TheStreet Ratings has this to say about the recommendation:

We rate ALON USA ENERGY INC as a Sell with a ratings score of D+. This is driven by a number of negative factors, which we believe should have a greater impact than any strengths, and could make it more difficult for investors to achieve positive results compared to most of the stocks we cover. The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its deteriorating net income, poor profit margins, weak operating cash flow, disappointing return on equity and generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself.

You can view the full analysis from the report here: ALJ

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