Analysts' Actions -- Alcoa, ConAgra, Carnival and More

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- RATINGS

Alcoa (AA) was downgraded to neutral from buy by Sterne Agee, which set a 12-month price target of $12, saying the company is working through a challenging period in its portfolio transformation and is facing fundamental risks to its commodity business.

Agco (AGCO) was upgraded to neutral from underweight by J.P. Morgan, which set a 12-month price target of $55, saying activist presence should help increase shareholder value.

Axis Capital Holdings (AXS) was downgraded to neutral from buy by MKM Partners, which set a 12-month price target of $56. The shares have reached MKM Partners' price target due in part to press stories that the company may become a takeover target itself if its merger plans with PartnerRe (PRE) are not approved by PartnerRe shareholders, MKM said.

ConAgra Foods (CAG) was upgraded to overweight from neutral by J.P. Morgan, which cited valuation, based on a 12-month price target of $52.

Carnival (CCL) was upgraded to buy from hold by Deutsche Bank, which set a 12-month price target of $55.30, saying the company should see bookings and pricing recovery.

Eagle Pharmaceuticals (EGRX) was started at outperform by RBC Capital, which set a 12-month price target of $97. Bendamustine is key and drives 54% of the equity value, but there is a solid pipeline of opportunities that can help to support a sustainable growth story, RBC said. Expected near-term M&A on sizable cash balance presents another important catalyst that shouldn't be overlooked, the firm added.

Eastman Chemical (EMN) was upgraded to buy from neutral and given a 12-month price target of $98 by Nomura, which said the company can generate solid free cash flow.

EQT GP Holdings (EQGP) was started at outperform by Credit Suisse, which set a 12-month price target of $43. EQT is a pure-play general partner deriving 100% of its cash flow from its MLP, EQM Midstream Partners (EQM), via incentive distribution rights (IDRs) and distributions from EGT's 30% ownership of EQM LP units. Analysts expect EQM to generate a three-year Ebitda compound annual growth rate of 78% and a distribution CAGR of 23% since its 2012 IPO (based on 2015 CS estimates) which has been driven primarily through an aggressive dropdown program with sponsor, EQT Corp. (EQT), Credit Suisse said.

EQT GP Holdings (EQGP) was started at outperform by RBC, which set a 12-month price target of $38. EQM's general partner (EQGP) will be among the fastest growth vehicles in the MLP space, near 35% five-year distribution growth CAGR, RBC said. EQGP comes at a hefty premium, but EQGP's premium is warranted and sustainable given line-of-sight for underlying MLP distribution growth and potential upside longer term from ability to leverage EQT E&P relationship, RBC added.

Expedia (EXPE) was upgraded to buy from hold by Deutsche Bank, which said the company is consoliating the industry and can continue to grow over the next several quarters.

Marsh & McLennan (MMC) was downgraded to neutral from buy by Goldman Sachs, which cited valuation, based on a 12-month price target of $60.

Manitowoc (MTW) was downgraded to hold by TheStreet Ratings team. You can view the full analysis from the report here: MTW Ratings Report.

MetLife (MET) was upgraded to outperform from sector perform by RBC Capital, which set a 12-month price target of $68, saying the company is leveraged to higher interest rates and will likely repurchase more shares.

Micron (MU) was started at outperform by Cowen, which set a 12-month price target of $34, saying the company can expand memory margins and trades at a discount to its peers.

Micron (MU) was downgraded to sell from neutral by Goldman Sachs, which set a 12-month price target of $19, saying rising supply should hurt DRAM margins.

Priceline.com (PCLN) was downgraded to hold from buy by Deutsche Bank, which cited valuation, saying a new analyst has a 12-month price target of $1,325.

PPL (PPL) was upgraded to buy by Jefferies, which cited valuation, based on a 12-month price target of $34.

VeriFone Systems (PAY) was upgraded to buy by TheStreet's ratings team. You can view the full analysis from the report here: PAY Ratings Report.

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