3 Stocks With Upgrades: AOL, Seacor, Qiagen

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- The following stocks were upgraded Wednesday by TheStreet Ratings: AOL ( AOL), Seacor Holdings ( CKH) and Qiagen ( QGEN).

AOL

The Internet services company reported earlier this month fourth-quarter earnings of $22.8 million, or 23 cents a share, down from year-ago earnings of $66.2 million, or 60 cents.

"We do not expect a particular catalyst for AOL this year other than continued execution on display ad growth both on owned and partner sites, " Miller Tabak analysts wrote in a Feb. 2 report. "Upside to our estimates might come from particularly telegraphed ad client wins."

Shares of AOL were upgraded to hold from sell by TheStreet Ratings.

AOL has an estimated forward price-to-earnings ratio of 21.92; the average for Internet companies is 18.81. For comparison, both J2 Global ( JCOM) and Earthlink ( ELNK) have lower forward P/Es of 11.41 and 19.15, respectively.

Ten of the 16 analysts who cover AOL rated it hold. Five analysts gave it a buy rating and one rated it sell.

TheStreet Ratings gives AOL a C- grade. The stock closed Tuesday at $18.63 and has risen 23.38% year to date.

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Seacor Holdings

The oil and gas equipment and marine equipment company reported last week fourth-quarter earnings of $17 million, or 80 cents a share, down from year-ago earnings of $27.1 million, or $1.27 a share.

"With a cash war chest of roughly $650 million (includes restricted cash and proceeds from Environmental sale) we expect management to continue to hunt acquisitions," Credit Suisse analysts wrote in a Feb. 16 report. "We believe the best value lies in the Marine Transportation (coastal and tug trade). The implemenation by the USCG of Subchapter M should provide opportunities for well capitalized tug players."

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

Two of the three analysts who cover Seacor Holdings rated it hold; one rated it sell.

Seacor Holdings gets a B grade from TheStreet Ratings with a buy rating and a $113.76 price target. The stock closed Tuesday at $98.84 and has increased 11.11% year to date.


Qiagen

The assay and sample technology company reported last month fourth-quarter earnings of $73.6 million, or 31 cents a share, up from year-ago earnings of $62 million, or 26 cents a share.

"Qiagen continues to have success penetrating both clinical (mainly LDT in the U.S.) and life science markets (strong in both U.S. and Europe) with its QIAsymphony instrument and anticipates increasing the installed base from the approximately 550 level currently to greater than 750 by the end of 2012, taking share from bothAbbott and Roche," Piper Jaffray analysts wrote in a report Wednesday.

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

"The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and expanding profit margins," TheStreet Ratings wrote. "We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had lackluster performance in the stock itself."

Of the 37 analysts who cover Qiagen, 19 rated it hold. Fourteen analysts gave it a buy rating and four rated it sell.

TheStreet Ratings gives Qiagen a B grade with a buy rating and a $17.90 price target. The stock closed Tuesday at $15.54 and has risen 12.53% year to date.

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-- Written by Alexandra Zendrian

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