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Upgrades & Downgrades: Wynn Resorts About to End Losing Streak?

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Wall Street ratings agencies set the tone for today's stock market.

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Stocks finished mixed, financials fared well, and tech took it on the chin, with the Dow Average having now closed in opposite directions for 10 straight days. Increasingly muddled messages out of Europe didn't help, though with its strike-riddled economy sinking like a stone, Athens' own Aegean Marine Petroleum Network (ANW) surged some 9.60%. Investors only had eyes for CBS Corp (CBS), the 'Tiffany network' gaining 3.13% as its iconic all-seeing logo turned 60. Cubist Pharmaceuticals (CBST) jumped 9.61% to hit its highest level in a decade, and Wynn Resorts (WYNN) - the owner of which is apparently no fan of Cubist artists - fell 5.30%. With Molotov cocktails flying all over Greece, Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling ADS (CCH) tumbled 5.66%. In analyst action, Macy's (M) edged up after an upgrade; the Miracle on 34th Street is clearly gathering pace, especially on a day Madison Square Garden (MSG) unveiled the first phase of a multi million dollar facelift.

Elsewhere gold fell for a fourth straight session and it wasn't such a great day for the man with the golden gun, either. And, appropriately enough, with its industry under an Alamo-like siege, the American Bankers Association starts its annual convention in San Antonio on Sunday. Shrewd move. With the world ending today, there will be precious little for anyone to protest this weekend. No top-tier economic data out this morning, but the first full week of third-quarter earnings season concludes with a battery of corporate announcements including Air Products (APD), Dover Corp (DOV), General Electric (GE),Honeywell (HON), Kinetic Concepts (KCI), ManPower Group (MAN), McDonald's (MCD), SunTrust Banks (STI), and Verizon (VZ).

Initiations:

Anglo Platinum (AGPPY): Shares are begun with a Buy at UBS.

Embraer SA (ERJ): The private jet maker is initiated with a Buy at Deutsche Bank.

Aastrom Biosciences (ASTM): ASTM gets picked up at Perform by Oppenheimer.

Hersha Hospitality Trust (HT): The small cap stock is initiated with a Outperform rating and $5 price objective at FBR Capital, which notes it has several recently-opened hotels in the portfolio that are in the ramp-up stage.

Meredith Corp (MDP): Deutsche Bank has a new Hold on MDP.

TIBCO Software (TIBX): The stock is begun with a Buy at ThinkEquity.

Diana Shipping (DSX): Barclays assigns an Underweight on DSX.

JB Hunt Transportation (JBHT): The company is a new Overweight at Barclays.

Furiex Pharmaceuticals (FURX): FURX is a fresh Buy at Global Hunter Securities, which sets it an $18 target price. It is developing a diversified portfolio of drug candidates at various stages of clinical development, with especially high hopes for Nesina, a DPP-4 inhibitor for type 2 diabetes licensed to Takeda.


Upgrades:

Wynn Resorts (WYNN): The casino company is trading higher ahead of the open after being upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform by BMO Capital.

Altera (ALTR): ALTR gets a Buy-from-Outperform boost at Credit Agricole.

Accretive Health (AH): The stock is now Buy from Neutral at Goldman Sachs.

Covanta (CVA): Ardour Capital increases CVA to Buy from Accumulate with a $21 target.

Seagate Technology (STX): STX is upgraded by both brokerage Robert W. Baird (Outperform from Neutral) and ThinkEquity (Buy from Hold). The company is seen taking market share for the next few quarters and is also poised to benefit from favorable unit pricing dynamics.

Synaptics (SYNA): SYNA is now Hold from Underperform at Needham.

51job, Inc. (JOBS): Broker William Blair moves JOBS to Outperform from Market Perform.

Hatteras Financial (HTS): Sterne Agee hoists HTS to Buy from Neutral.


Downgrades:

BHP Billiton (BHP): The mining giant gets downgraded by both SocGen (Hold from Buy) and HSBC Securities (Neutral from Overweight).

Checkpoint Systems (CKP): CKP is cut to In-Line from Outperform at Imperial Capital amid significant operational challenges and a major planned restructuring.

PetSmart: (PETM): Shares are moved to Market Perform from Outperform with Wells Fargo.

New York & Co (NWY): NWY is now Neutral from Buy at Janney Scott, which has a $3 price target.

Penn National Gaming (PENN): Brokerage Brean Murray downgrades PENN to Hold from Buy as its current trajectory will likely depress valuation.

Aixtron (AIXG): Shares are cut to Hold from Buy at Kaufman Brothers, which takes its target down to $14 from $22.

FLIR Systems (FLIR): FLIR is now Hold from Buy at Needham on account of valuation concerns allied to expectations of slower growth over the next year.

Huntington Bancshares (HBAN): HBAN is downgraded to Perform from Outperform at Oppenheimer, which says their old investment thesis that "new management will drive higher quality results" appears to not to be panning out as anticipated.

Sterling Bancorp (STL): Shares are now Neutral from Buy at Janney Scott.

Newfield Exploration (NFX): NFX is moved to Neutral from Outperform at Macquarie

Stage Stores (SSI): The stock is cut to Neutral from Buy at Suntrust.

Dentsply (XRAY): XRAY gets reduced to Neutral from Buy at Suntrust.

Pool Corp (POOL): The company is downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform by brokers William Blair.

Freescale Semiconductor (FSL): BMO Capital moves FSL to Market Perform from Outperform.

Cimarex (XEC): XEC is downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at BMO Capital.

EZCORP (EZPW): The company is cut to Underperform from Neutral at Sterne Agee.
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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