Notable Upgrades: Yum! Brands (YUM), Apple (AAPL), Nike (NKE), Columbia Pipeline (CPGX), BRF S.A. (BRFS), Neurocrine Biosciences (NBIX)

Analysts at Credit Suisse are out with a report this morning upgrading shares of Yum! Brands, Inc. (YUM) with a ‘Neutral’ from ‘Underperform’ rating. The firm however, lowered its price target for the company to $75 from $86, saying it now puts a higher probability on the idea that the restaurant chain operator will spin off its China operations.

Yum! Brands Inc. shares are currently priced at 32.97x this year’s forecasted earnings, compared to the industry’s 16.61x earnings multiple. Ticker has a forward P/E of 17.51 and t-12 price-to-sales ratio of 2.23. EPS for the same period is $2.04.

In the past 52 weeks, shares of Louisville, Kentucky-based company have traded between a low of $65.81 and a high of $95.90 and are now at $67.29.

Shares are down 0.79% year-over-year and 5.62% year-to-date.

Apple Inc. (AAPL) – In a research note published on Thursday, Oppenheimer notes, shares of the iPhone maker are unfairly undervalued on exaggerated fears over long-term iPhone shipment trends and lack of “something new.” As a result, the firm maintains an ‘Outperform’ rating and a 12-month case base estimate of $155, implying about 43% expected return from ticker’s current PPS of $108.57.

On valuation measures, Apple Inc. shares are currently priced at 12.56x this year’s forecasted earnings compared to the industry’s 12.60x earnings multiple. Ticker has a PEG and forward P/E ratio of 0.82 and 11.07, respectively. Price/Sales for the same period is 2.82 while EPS is $8.65. Currently there are 35 analysts that rate AAPL a ‘Buy’, 9 rate it a ‘Hold’. Two analysts rate it a ‘Sell’. AAPL has a median Wall Street price target of $150.00 with a high target of $200.00.

Analysts at DA Davidson upgraded their rating on the shares of Nike, Inc. (NKE). In a research note published on Thursday, the firm lifted the name with a ‘Buy’ from ‘Neutral’ rating, saying they believe the co.’s earnings growth potential is as promising as ever. Price target was set at $140 per share.

Columbia Pipeline Group, Inc. (CPGX) was raised to ‘Buy’ from ‘Hold’ at Jefferies on Thursday.

CPGX is up $1.16 at $20.15 on heavy volume. Midway through trading Thursday, 3.71 million shares of Columbia Pipeline Group Inc. have exchanged hands, as compared to its average daily volume of 2.50 million shares. The stock has ranged in a price between $18.92 to $20.15 after having opened the day at $19.18, as compared to the previous trading day’s close of $18.99.

BRF S.A. (BRFS) was upgraded to ‘Buy’ from ‘Neutral’ by Citigroup (C) analysts on Thursday.

BRFS is currently printing a normal average trading volume with the issue trading 1.08 million shares, compared to the average volume of 2.38 million. The stock began trading this morning at $17.35 to currently trade 1.70% higher from the prior days close of $17.05. On an intraday basis it has gotten as low as $17.27 and as high as $17.61.

BRFS shares have declined 8.82% in the last 4 weeks and 20.51% in the past three months. Over the past 5 trading sessions the stock has lost 4.16%. The Sao Paulo, Brasil-based company, which is currently valued at $14.69 billion, has a median Wall Street price target of $20.93 with a high target of $24.92.

BRF S.A. ADR is down 31.62% year-over-year, compared with a 3.51% gain in the S&P 500.

Neurocrine Biosciences Inc. (NBIX) was reiterated as ‘Overweight’ with a $96 from $86 price target on Thursday by Piper Jaffray.

NBIX shares recently gained 3.72 to $42.65. The stock is up more than 150.35% year-over-year and has gained roughly 74.26% year-to-date. In the past 52 weeks, shares of San Diego, California-based pharma company have traded between a low of $15.21 and a high of $56.97.

Neurocrine Biosciences closed Wednesday at $38.93. The name has a current market cap of $3.66 billion.

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