RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. — Embarq’s first report as a separate, public company last Thursday is being well received for the most part on the Street.

Three analysts firms have upgraded Embarq (NYSE: EQ) and one has downgraded the stock since then. The stock, meanwhile, is trading up close to $2, closing Monday at $45.25 per share.

Morgan Stanley, for example, reported that Embarq looks “very cheap” compared to its peers and raised the stock to “overweight” from “equal weight”.

On Monday, J.P. Morgan upped Embarq to “neutral” from “underweight”.

On Friday, Merrill Lynch rated the stock a “buy”, up from “neutral”.

Only Bear Stearns cut the stock — to “peer perform” from “outperform”.

Banc of America Securities and Soleil still rate Embarq a “buy”. Goldman Sachs (“inline”), CIBC World Markets (“sector perform”), RBC Capital Markets (“sector perform”) and A.G. Edwards (“hold”) have held steady.

Embarq, which has one of its largest operations in the Carolinas, spun off from Sprint Nextel as the nation’s fifth largest local telephone company on May 18. Helped in part by increases in data and high-speed Internet line sales, Embarq beat Street estimates with earnings of $1.44 per share on net revenues of $216 million. Analysts had projected $1.09 earnings per share.

Given that this was Embarq’s first report, some analysts are urging caution in evaluating the long-term prospects of the company. For the moment, however, optimistic is a relevant term.

Embarq: www.embarq.com