In April, Ladenburg Thalmann analyst Brian Russo began coverage on Allete Inc. in April of this year with a "neutral" rating.

In his latest research note this month, he's raised his rating to "buy" based on his updated valuation of the company. He also increased his per-share outlook for the Duluth company from $44 per share to $45.

Russo is expecting Allete, which is an energy supplier to customers in the Upper Midwest, to grow its revenue by making substantial investments.

"We expect rate base to grow by 35-40 percent over the next 5 years to $2.1 billion by 2016 supported by $1.4 billion of capital investments," Russo wrote.

Allete now has four buy recommendations by analysts, one hold and one sell.

REGIS' NEW STYLE

Regis Corp. reported its first quarterly earnings Thursday under its new CEO, Dan Hanrahan. While results weren't markedly different -- same-store sales still declining, for example -- he didn't join the company until after the fourth quarter, which ended June 30.

On the job less than a month, Hanrahan has already been drawing positive reviews from analysts. Analyst Brent Rystrom covers Regis for Minneapolis-based Feltl and Co., and seems impressed with the introduction of Hanrahan and the direction he's headed.

"New CEO Dan Hanrahan struck us as reasonable, articulate, and appropriately guarded in how he positioned Regis and its outlook," Rystrom wrote in a research note. "It was clear he will focus on improving the customer experience at Regis and simplifying its operations."

PATRICK KENNEDY