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Upgrades & Downgrades: Glass Half Empty for Coca-Cola


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


Stocks are now down for five straight months, having just endured their worst quarter since 2008. Enter October, home to horror stories stretching from 1929 to 1987 and ending, appropriately enough, with Halloween. But cheer up, if you can't keep up with the (Dow) Joneses then there's always The Smiths. For investors already suffering a bad case of the Mondays, along comes Morrissey, history's most morose Mancunian, to release a big boxed set of CDs this morning and do his bit to improve everyone's mood. To Bank of America (BAC) went the dubious distinction of the poorest performing blue chip over the past 12 weeks, with a fall of 43.7%. The cash strapped company "provided funding" for last night's premiere of Prohibition. Heaven knows how, but their shareholders could certainly use a drink.

Rival JP Morgan (JPM) looked resplendent by comparison, tumbling only 29%, and by sponsoring a free Robin Hood concert in Central Park as the quarter came to a close they are at least doing their level best to redistribute wealth from rich to poor. Which should please protesters currently railing against government largesse towards Wall Street. (Over on Sesame Street meanwhile Uncle Sam's generosity has gone a long way.) And Eastman Kodak (EK) slid 67.2% last week, taking it to the lowest level since 1935. The same year, by a cruel irony, that they introduced Kodachrome. Where have you gone, Paul Simon? A nation turns its lonely fisheye lens to you. This morning in economics, analysts anticipate a slight slippage in September's Institute for Supply Management index at 10:00AM Eastern, at which time August construction spending is also expected to slow. On the earnings front Littelfuse (LFUS), Medical Properties (MPW), Skyline (SKY), and Wolverine World Wide (WWW) are all due to report results.


Seattle Genetics (SGEN): SGEN is a new Neutral at Goldman Sachs. Also read What's a Cancer Drug Worth?

Vodafone PLC
(VOD): The European telecom titan gets begun with a Buy at ING Group.

Phone Stocks
: MetroPCS (PCS) is a new Buy ($12 price objective), and Leap Wireless (LEAP) a new Sell ($4 target price), at BTIG Research, which recommends a strategy to pair a long purchase on the former with a short sale on the latter.

(PRGO): Deutsche Bank picks up PRGO at a Hold.

Ultra Petroleum
(UPL): UPL is launched at a Hold by Brean Murray.


Procter & Gamble (PG): The Dow member gets upgraded to Overweight from Neutral at JP Morgan.
(PCLN): Shares, which tumbled 12.7% last week, are higher pre-market after being upgraded to Overweight from Equal Weight at Morgan Stanley.
(AMZN): AMZN is upgraded to Buy from Hold with a $280 price target at Stifel Nicolaus, which sees continued market share gains in a tough economic environment. For related content, see Leading Growth Names Like Apple, Amazon Lose Benefit of the Doubt.

Time Warner
(TWX): Goldman upgrades the cable company to Buy from Neutral.

Hotel Stocks
: Starwood Hotels (HOT) and Diamondrock Hospitality (DRH) are each moved to Outperform from Market Perform with Wells Fargo.

Mining Stocks
: Freeport-McMoRan (FCX) and Goldcorp (GG) each get Buy-from-Hold boosts at Deutsche Bank. See also Will Gold/Gold Miners Ratio Break March 2009 Levels?

(IR): IR is hoisted to Hold from Sell at Citigroup.

Analog Devices
(ADI): ADI is now Neutral from Reduce at Nomura.

(NTAP): Citi gives a Buy-from-Hold hoist to NTAP.

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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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