Will This Upgrade Help Linn Co (LNCO) Stock Today?

Story updated at 10 a.m. to reflect market activity.

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Linn Co (LNCO) was upgraded to "buy" from "neutral" by UBS Friday.

Shares of Linn Co gained 2.1% to $27.48 in morning trading.

The firmest a price target of $34 for the company. UBS analysts said the upgrade was driven by a bullish outlook for natural gas, and that the sale of the Wolfcamp acreage should provide a means of high grading assets for Linn Co.

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Separately, TheStreet Ratings team rates LINNCO LLC as a Hold with a ratings score of C-. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

"We rate LINNCO LLC (LNCO) a HOLD. The primary factors that have impacted our rating are mixed ? some indicating strength, some showing weaknesses, with little evidence to justify the expectation of either a positive or negative performance for this stock relative to most other stocks. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, expanding profit margins and notable return on equity. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including deteriorating net income, a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself and feeble growth in the company's earnings per share."

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • LNCO has no debt to speak of therefore resulting in a debt-to-equity ratio of zero, which we consider to be a relatively favorable sign. To add to this, LNCO has a quick ratio of 2.22, which demonstrates the ability of the company to cover short-term liquidity needs.
  • The gross profit margin for LINNCO LLC is currently very high, coming in at 100.00%. LNCO has managed to maintain the strong profit margin since the same quarter of last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, LNCO's net profit margin of 330.80% significantly outperformed against the industry.
  • Compared to other companies in the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry and the overall market, LINNCO LLC's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • Despite any intermediate fluctuations, we have only bad news to report on this stock's performance over the last year: it has tumbled by 29.42%, worse than the S&P 500's performance. Consistent with the plunge in the stock price, the company's earnings per share are down 3075.40% compared to the year-earlier quarter. Turning toward the future, the fact that the stock has come down in price over the past year should not necessarily be interpreted as a negative; it could be one of the factors that may help make the stock attractive down the road. Right now, however, we believe that it is too soon to buy.
  • The company, on the basis of change in net income from the same quarter one year ago, has significantly underperformed when compared to that of the S&P 500 and the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 4480.9% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $21.16 million to -$926.97 million.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: LNCO Ratings Report

STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more.

Editor's Note: Any reference to TheStreet Ratings and its underlying recommendation does not reflect the opinion of TheStreet, Inc. or any of its contributors including Jim Cramer or Stephanie Link.

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