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Upgrades & Downgrades: Analyst Has Reservations About OpenTable


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

On a November 1 almost exactly half a millennia earlier Europe caused the world to look skyward, with wonder. Fast-forward 500 years and, as Shakespeare so nearly said, "Default, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, But in ourselves." As an entire continent regresses ominously from Sistine Chapel ceilings to debt ceilings, stocks continue to slump. The S&P 500 Index imploded for a second straight session, shares suffering their single worst drop in a month after Greece's George Papandreou, born in Minnesota's St. Paul, embarked on a road-to-Damascus conversion and unexpectedly decided to throw a referendum on the proposed bailout package. Financials predictably fared worst, Spain's Banco Santander (STD) skidding 5.61% on concerns the contagion is catching. Dutch bank ING Groep (ING) tumbled 14.00%, the worst-performing foreign stock on the entire NYSE. (It can at least take a crumb of comfort, this week of all weeks, in the knowledge that the race is not a sprint but a marathon, the 26-mile 385-yard run begun in ancient…oh, I forget where.) Here at home, JPMorgan (JPM) fell 5.90% in an especially depressing day for Jamie Dimon, born to mother named Themis of Anatolian Greek descent. A businessman with the savvy to buy Bear Stearns for less than it cost to purchase David Beckham, he will find some humor in the dire performance of Herbalife (HLF), which was happy to lose its shirt putting its name on the soccer star's and yesterday saw its own shares slide 6.94%.

In other action Citigroup (C) scored an analyst upgrade from Credit Suisse, showing the Swiss firm has a funny bone on the very day Mike Mayo, an analyst it once fired, took to the airwaves to denounce…Citigroup. And as commodities cratered, Horsehead Holding (ZINC) fell a further 3.34%. This, 24 hours after the Pittsburgh company lost 7.95% in a Halloween showing as scary as the Headless Horseman. Andrew Carnegie, adopted by Steel City but born just outside of Edinburgh, now rests in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery. Once the world's richest man, he gave away almost all his fortune and – so much for cheap Scotsmen - his most famous phrase was "He who dies rich thus dies disgraced." Not much danger of that in this market. This afternoon in economics, the Federal Open Market Committee concludes its two-day policy meeting at 12:30 p.m. Eastern, with Fed head Ben Bernanke scheduled to speak at a press conference at 2:15 p.m. Hump Day of another busy week for third quarter sees AOL Inc (AOL), Clorox (CLX), Comcast Corp (CMCSA), Devon Energy (DVN), El Paso (EP), Kraft Foods (KFT), MasterCard (MA), Prudential Financial (PRU), Qualcomm (QCOM), Sony (SNE), Time Warner (TWX), Whole Foods Market (WFM), and Zipcar (ZIP) all due to report results.


Monsanto (MON): The agribusiness giant is a new Neutral at UBS.

Industrial stocks: Caterpillar (CAT): The Dow member is begun with a bullish Overweight at Morgan Stanley, which has an Equal Weight on Joy Global (JOYG) and an Underweight on Deere (DE).

AGCO Corp (AGCO): Morgan Stanley starts an Underweight on AGCO.

Pandora Media (P): The recent IPO is picked up with an Outperform at BMO Capital.

Basic materials stocks: Cabot Corp (CBT) is begun with a Buy rating and $44 price objective at KeyBanc Capital Markets. Firm notes considering the company's competitive position in its core markets and financial strength, coupled with the growth opportunities within its new businesses and new products, they view current valuation as compelling. By contrast, KeyBanc has only Holds on competitors Compass Minerals (CMP) and OM Group (OMG).

F5 Networks (FFIV): Shares are up sharply before the open after being started with an Outperform at JMP Securities.


Gap Inc (GPS): The clothing company is raised to Positive from Neutral at Susquehanna, which takes its target up to $24 from $17.

Nike (NKE): NKE gets a Buy-from-Neutral increase at Goldman Sachs, which also puts the athletic apparel giant on its list of Conviction Buys.

Under Armour (UA): Shares are also now Buy from Neutral at Goldman.

Aeropostale (ARO): ARO is upgraded to Neutral from Sell at Goldman.

Boston Beer Co (SAM): Some relief for Red Sox Nation, with SAM raised to Buy from Underperform at Credit Agricole.

Leapfrog (LF): Needham lifts LF to Strong Buy from Buy and sets a $6 price target after earnings and amid an increasingly upbeat outlook.

Telecom stocks: Leap Wireless (LEAP) and MetroPCS (PCS) are each upgraded to Overweight from Neutral at JPMorgan.

China Unicom Hong Kong (CHU): CHU was upgraded to Neutral from Underweight at HSBC Securities. (SOHU): Shares of the Chinese Internet firm are up ahead of the open on a Buy-from-Hold hoist at Deutsche Bank.

Forest Oil (FST): Shares are trading sharply higher on a Buy-from-Neutral upgrade at Bank of America-Merrill Lynch.

Corinthian Colleges (COCO): Shares, up some 14.14% yesterday, are upgraded to Neutral from Underweight at Piper Jaffray.

Myriad Genetics (MYGN): Ticonderoga takes the stock to Buy from Neutral and establishes a price objective of $25. The broker believes international expansion has the potential to positively impact estimates.

CBL & Associates Properties (CBL): Bank of America-Merrill Lynch raises its recommendation on the retail REIT to Neutral from Underperform.

IPG Photonics: IPGP is now Buy from Hold with a $60 target price at Needham after its strong third quarter performance and solid outlook.

Ritchie Brothers (RBA): Robert W. Baird upgrades RBA to Outperform from Neutral and increases its price objective by $1 to $25. Though the economy remains a risk, current valuation is compelling and provides an opportunity to buy a premium business at a discount.

Oshkosh Corp (OSK): The Benchmark Company boosts OSK to Hold from Sell with a $20 target.


Intel (INTC): BMO Capital moves the key Dow component to Market Perform from Outperform. See some related technical analysis in yesterday's Chart of the Day.

Corning (GLW): GLW gets cut to Underweight from Neutral at JPMorgan.

Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF): ANF is removed from the Conviction Buy List at Goldman.

OpenTable (OPEN): The restaurant reservations outfit is lowered to Neutral from Buy by Bank of America-Merrill Lynch.

Diamond Foods (DMND): DMND is also now Neutral from Buy at Bank of America-Merrill Lynch. See also Global Food Prices Moving Down, Pointing Up.

US Cellular (USM): Morgan Stanley moves USM to Underweight from Equal Weight.

Ann Inc (ANN): The clothing company, known until recently as AnnTaylor, gets cut to Sell from Neutral at Goldman Sachs.

ASML Holding NV (ASML): ASML is downgraded to Hold from Buy at Deutsche Bank.

Dassault Systems (DASTY): DASTY is downgraded to Neutral from Overweight at HSBC Securities.

Amyris (AMRS): Shares are now Neutral from Outperform at Robert W. Baird, which trims its target to $16 from $25. Challenges are apparent in production goals following company management's downward revision in guidance.

EnCana (ECA): Bank of America-Merrill Lynch lowers the Canadian energy outfit to Neutral from Buy.

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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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