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Upgrades & Downgrades: Agnico-Eagle About to Soar?


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

Maybe Ben Bernanke should stick to speaking rather than writing. On a day the Dow posted a triple-digit increase, he saw stock in Washington Post (WPO), preferred publisher of his articles, fall 1.42%. And shares slumped to session lows immediately after the Fed he heads released a written statement on its future policy. By contrast, when he later mouthed the words the market most wanted to hear at a press conference - "prepared to take action as appropriate" - shares snapped back. A better than expected October private payroll report also boosted bourses and enabled equities to rebound from Tuesday's tumble in some style. This despite ongoing angst in Europe, where the Greek Prime Minister was summoned to the site of France's most famous film festival to assure Germany everything will be all right in the end, an Oscar-worthy act if ever there was one. "Yes we Cannes!", as it were. (Apologies to President Obama for employing his most famous phrase. On a day he removed any doubts as to "Hu's on first?" by knocking China's leader off top spot, our chief executive can, however, afford to be sanguine about it.)

Ariana Huffington née Stasinopoulos, who sold her firm to AOL Inc (AOL) for $315 million in the sort of brilliant business deal her homeland desperately needs, watched shares of the Internet outfit end up 12.51% on bullish earnings. Among other standout stocks United States Steel (X) surged 5.91% and Syms Corp (SYMS), the designer discounter where so many generations of Wall Streeters went in looking like Clark Kent and came out dressed as Superman without having to spend an Armani leg, jumped 26.73%. This despite the company entering Chapter 11 along with its Filene's Basement unit based in Beantown. That fine firm could at least drown its sorrows in hometown hero Boston Beer (SAM), which advanced 14.63% on an analyst upgrade. Though it shouldn't expect to be served by Mr. Malone, laid off long ago like so many others in America. This morning in economics, analysts expect declines in September factory orders and October's Institute for Supply Management Services Index, each out at 10:00 a.m. Eastern. On the corporate front, earnings season rolls on with Alliant Techsystems (ATK), BT Group (BT), CBS Corp (CBS), DirecTV (DTV), Energizer (ENR), Kellogg (K), and Sara Lee (SLE) all due to report results.


Commodity stocks: Alpha Natural Resources (ANR) is covered at Overweight by Barclays, which assigns identical ratings on Peabody Energy (BTU), Century Aluminum (CENX), AK Steel (AKS), and Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold (FCX). See also Strike at Gold and Copper Mine Has Widening Impact.

Medical device stocks: St. Jude Medical (STJ) is a new Neutral at Credit Suisse, which starts Medtronic (MDT) and Boston Scientific (BSX) at Outperform.

Inhibitex (INHX): Deutsche Bank beings Buy rated coverage on INHX.


Agnico-Eagle Mines (AEM): The gold firm from Canada gets a Buy-from-Hold boost at Dahlman Rose, which establishes a price objective of $50.01. Catalysts include an attractive valuation versus peers and increased confidence in company management.

GOL Linhas Areas Inteligentes S.A. (GOL): The Brazilian airline gets an unusual 180 degree Overweight-from-Underweight upgrade at Morgan Stanley.

Nutrisystem (NTRI): NTRI is now Buy from Neutral at Janney Montgomery Scott.

Invesco (IVZ): IVZ is added to the Top Picks Live list at Citigroup.

Teva Pharmaceuticals (TEVA): Morgan Stanley takes TEVA to Overweight from Equal Weight. Also read November Catalysts for Biotech and Drug Stocks.

ReachLocal (RLOC): RLOC is raised to Equal Weight from Underweight at Barclays, which sets a $14 price target.


Fast food stocks: Olive Garden owner Darden Restaurants (DRI) and Cheesecake Factory (CAKE) each get downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Janney Montgomery Scott.

Brightpoint (CELL): CELL is cut to Hold from Buy at Jefferies.

Check Point Software (CHKP): Morgan Stanley moves shares to Equal Weight from Overweight.

ON Semiconductor (ONNN): ONNN is now Neutral from Buy at Citigroup.

Rockwell Collins (COL): COL is cut to all the way to Underperform from Buy by Bank of America-Merrill Lynch.

Hexcel (HXL): Bank of America-Merrill Lynch lowers HXL to Neutral from Buy.

Entertainment Properties (EPR): EPR is now to Neutral from Buy at Janney Montgomery Scott.

Dendreon (DNDN): The Seattle-based biotech firm, maker of the prostate-cancer drug Provenge, gets downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Goldman Sachs.

Sierra Wireless (SWIR): Morgan Keegan moves the stock to Market Perform from Outperform after last night's revenue miss.

Sovran Self Storage (SSS): KeyBanc Capital reduces its rating on the REIT to Hold from Buy.

Career Education (CECO): The company is cut to Hold from Buy with Wunderlich, which takes its target to $12 from $23 amid uncertainty over a new CEO.

Furniture Brands (FBN): Shares are reduced to Underperform from Perform at Raymond James.

WebMD Health (WBMD): WBMD is downgraded to Hold from Buy at Stifel Nicolaus due to dramatically reduced revenue visibility through this year's fourth quarter and into 2012.

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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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