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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of CBL & Assocs. (CBL) were rising at the start of trading on Monday as Jefferies raised its rating on the stock to "buy" from "hold."

The firm also upped its price target to $16 from $10.50 on shares of the Chattanooga, TN-based real estate investment trust.

"We believe several issues that have been an overhang on CBL stock have been resolved or are in the process of resolution," Jefferies wrote in an analyst note.

Additionally, the company's balance sheet is in "much better shape," according to the firm.

CBL's high leverage has been a concern for investors, but the recent improvement in debt markets has created an opportunity for the REIT to refinance or retire almost $660 million of debt year-to-date, Jefferies noted.

"CBL still faces issues due to a tough retail environment, but the risk-reward appears favorable given valuation and our view that balance sheet and portfolio improvement continues into 2017," the firm added.

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Separately, TheStreet Ratings Team has a "Hold" rating with a score of C on the stock.

The primary factors that have impacted the rating are mixed. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, attractive valuation levels and increase in net income.

But the team also finds weaknesses including disappointing return on equity and a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself.

Recently, 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.

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

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