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Upgrades & Downgrades: Cisco Gets Its Groove Back


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

Sweet seven, why must you bring us such sorrow? And to think it used to be such a lucky number for Silvio Berlusconi, owner of the AC Milan soccer team whose spare time is spent moonlighting as Prime Minister of Italy, Earth's seventh-largest economy. Back in '07, while proudly posing with his club's seventh continental crown (gained in Greece, to boot) Europe was still bubbly and Bear Stearns but a blip on the radar. Fast-forward four years and a record surge in Italian 10-year bond yields above the psychologically significant 7% level sent shares into a tailspin. Stocks thus snapped a two-session advance in spectacular style, the Dow dropping 389.24 points in the market's worst single day showing for two months. Germany's chancellor called for a "new continent" as Europe, whose long holiday from history began with the fall of the wall on 11/9, awoke exactly 22 years later to find the severity of its own 9/11 moment staring it straight in the face.

At least, as Italy's finances fail, it can take pride in prodigal son Leonardo DiCaprio picking up $20 million a movie. Yesterday the actor opened to mostly rave reviews for J. Edgar, his portrayal of Mr. Hoover. (Meanwhile women's underwear maker Maidenform Brands (MFB) tumbled 25.75% in its worst showing for six years, no way to honor an FBI director long rumored to be among the industry's core clientele.) And on an otherwise dreadful day in equities Amylin Pharmaceuticals (AMLN), aspiring to be a major player in the diabetes market, rode an analyst upgrade to gain 1.03% after Tuesday's tumble caused all sorts of question marks for the company. This only 24 hours after McDonald's (MCD) was all up arrows in hitting the highest level in its history; maybe fast food and the metabolic disorder really do exist side by side. This afternoon in economics, the Treasury balance for October is out at 2:00 p.m. Eastern. On the earnings front Brooks Automation (BRKS), Crédit Agricole, Deutsche Telekom, Flowers Foods (FLO), Kohl's Corp (KSS), Nordstrom (JWN), Nvidia (NVDA), Siemens (SI), and Viacom (VIA) are all due to report results.


CarMax (KMX): Stifel Nicolaus starts KMX with a Buy and sets a $36 target price on a company they say is among the leaders in a highly fragmented sector where online competition lacks physical presence.

Eastman Chemical (EMN): The stock is begun with a Buy rating and $56 price objective at Ticonderoga, which says it now has the most attractive portfolio of businesses in the petrochemical industry.

Visteon (VC): VC is initiated with an Equal Weight by Barclays.

STEC Inc (STEC): Lazard launches Buy rated coverage on STEC.


Cisco Systems (CSCO): The Dow component, unloved until recently but up sharply before the bell on last night's impressive earnings, is boosted by Deutsche Bank (Buy from Hold), Citigroup (Buy from Neutral), and Raymond James (Outperform from Market Perform).

Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG): Shares get upgraded to Hold from Sell at Miller Tabak, which takes its target up to $286.

Vertex Pharmaceuticals (VRTX): Morgan Stanley moves VRTX to Equal Weight from Underweight.

CGGVeritas (CGV): The stock is boosted to Overweight from Equal Weight at Barclays.

Aegean Marine Petroleum (ANW): ANW is upgraded to Buy from Hold with a $9 objective at Dahlman Rose, which says Q3 earnings showed a continued improvement in overall operations.

Ashland (ASH): The stock is now Overweight from Neutral at JP Morgan.

DynaVox (DVOX): DVOX gets upgraded to Overweight from Neutral at Piper Jaffray.


General Motors (GM): GM gets pulled from Citigroup's list of Top Picks Live. Also read GM Sales Rise Just 2% in October.

Wendy's (WEN): The fast food firm is downgraded to Hold from Buy at Deutsche Bank.

Kellogg (K): Deutsche Bank also cuts K to Hold from Buy.

Advance Auto Parts (AAP): AAP is now Neutral from Outperform at Credit Suisse.

Computer Sciences (CSC): CSC is cut to Underweight from Neutral at JPMorgan.

Siemens AG (SI): The German industrial giant gets lowered to Neutral from Add at WestLB.

Maidenform Brands (MFB): MFB is moved to Neutral from Buy at Citigroup after yesterday's steep slide.

Pan Am Silver (PAAS): Double trouble for PAAS. Raymond James reduces its recommendation to Outperform from Strong Buy and Canaccord Genuity gives it a Hold-from-Buy cut.

PG&E Corp (PCG): The energy outfit is now Neutral from Outperform at Credit Suisse.

Concho Resources (CXO): Shares are cut to Neutral from Buy at Goldman Sachs.

Savient Pharmaceuticals (SVNT): The small cap stock is downgraded to Underperform from Market Perform at JMP Securities.

SandRidge Energy (SD): SD is downgraded to Sell from Neutral at Goldman.

A123 Systems (AONE): AONE is lowered to Hold from Buy at brokers Craig Hallum.

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