OM Group Shares Rise After Upgrade

NEW YORK (AP) â¿¿ Shares of OM Group Inc. rose Wednesday after an analyst upgraded the chemical company to "Buy" from "Hold," saying that the stock's sharp decline combined with a positive business outlook should attract investors.

THE SPARK: KeyBanc Capital Markets analyst Ivan M. Marcuse said the stock is now a good value for several reasons, including a positive reception of its incoming chief financial officer by Wall Street and stabilizing cobalt prices.

The company said two weeks ago that it hired Christopher M. Hix as its new CFO to start Jan. 3. Hix most recently was senior vice president and CFO of Robbins & Myers Inc., which makes and services equipment for companies in industries such as energy, chemicals and pharmaceuticals.

THE ANALYSIS: Marcuse predicts that following the completion of a recent acquisition, the company will start to be more open about its earnings and growth potential. He put a $30 price target on the stock.

"Over the last several years, OM Group has worked to transform itself from being primarily a metal conversion company into more of an engineered materials company. In addition to periods of volatile market conditions, the combination of a multitude of factors including controversial acquisitions, fluctuating cobalt prices and difficulty in communicating its plan for growth has equated into a poor shareholder return for a long-term investor," the analyst wrote in a note to clients. "However, now ... we see limited downside and view (the stock) as a compelling opportunity."

SHARE ACTION: Shares rose $1.37, or 6.6 percent, to $22.12 amid a broader market rally following the news that central banks around the world are working together to ease financial pressure. The stock is still near its year low of $20.13.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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