NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of SeaWorld (SEAS) are rising after research firm FBR Capital upgraded the stock to Buy from Neutral, saying that concerns about the company's treatment of its animals are likely to fade.
WHAT'S NEW: Concerns about how SeaWorld treats its animals are the main reason for the company's weak operating results this summer and the 30%-plus decline in the stock, FBR Capital analyst Barton Crockett wrote in a note to investors today. Sparked by publicity around a critical movie and a bill in the California legislature, the concerns led to a drop of more than 15% in revenue at the company's San Diego park this summer, Crockett estimated. But SeaWorld has overcome similar bouts of bad publicity in the past, and its stepped up marketing efforts - along with its opening of larger, more natural environments for its killer whales at three of its parks - should give the company a boost, the analyst believes. He placed a $26 price target on the shares.
WHAT'S NOTABLE: On August 13, SeaWorld reported much weaker than expected Q2 results, and the stock closed at $18.90 that day, sharply down from its closing price of $28.15 on the previous day.
PRICE ACTION: In early trading, SeaWorld rose 3% to $19.50. The stock has tumbled over 30% so far this year.
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