Upgrades & Downgrades: Raising The Roof On REITs
Wall Street ratings agencies set the tone for today's stock market.
According to Ask Yahoo, "bears begin hibernation in early October." Far be it for me to disagree, especially since Yahoo (YHOO) just topped the S&P 500 Index with a 2.73% gain on an otherwise dire day, but it seems that on Wall Street the bear is unusually active for this time of year. Shares slumped to lows last seen in September 2010, better manufacturing data in the US becoming an irrelevance as Greece acknowledged it will miss a key debt target. Bond prices rose as Operation Twist began in earnest, sending the 30-year yield down to its lowest level since late 2008 as investors engaged in a flight to safety. One that certainly wasn't occurring aboard AMR Corp (AMR), the American Airlines parent plunging 33.11% amid bankruptcy speculation. Air New Zealand may be counting sheep in its current ads, but yesterday the entire industry acted like lambs to the slaughter. Walmart (WMT) was the sole Dow gainer, its 0.12% increase nothing to shout about but at least one customer got her two cents worth.
A Goldman Sachs analyst initiation of Seattle Genetics (SGEN) sent their shares up 0.47% on a day the city's most famous daughter walked free on a lack of incriminatory DNA. Vulcan Materials (VMC) fell 4.97% to a new low in a brutal tape for building materials and a sad day for Vulcans everywhere. And England's finance minister pledged in a Manchester speech to stimulate the economy. The city could start by telling its millionaire soccer stars not to steal doughnuts . In this morning's financial data, consensus calls for August factory orders to come in flat at 10:00AM Eastern, which is when Fed head Ben Bernanke testifies to Congress on the economy. On the earnings front Global Payments (GPN), Landec (LNDC), Resources Connection (RECN), and Yum Brands (YUM) are all due to report results.
Johnson & Johnson (JNJ): The Dow component is a new Outperform at Cowen & Company.
Financial Stocks: American Express (AXP), also in the Dow, is a new Hold at Jefferies, which establishes a price objective of $50. The broker also has a Hold ($40 target price) on Capital One (COF), and launches Buy rated coverage on Discover Financial Services (DFS) ($28 target).
Owens Corning (OC): OC is a new Neutral at Ticonderoga.
Fortune Brands Home & Security (FBHS): The recent spin off is a Neutral at brokers Robert W. Baird, which sets it a $14 target. While the company has a solid growth profile, shares are trading at a premium to peers.
Beam Inc (BEAM) BEAM is begun with a Hold at Citigroup.
Pharmacy Related Stocks: Express Scripts (ESRX) is initiated with an Outperform and $54 objective at Oppenheimer, which has Performs on Catalyst Health Solutions (CHSI) and SXC Health Solutions (SXCI).
Clothing Retailers: Polo Ralph Lauren (RL) and Under Armour (UA) are each initiated with Equal Weight at Morgan Stanley, which has an Underweight on Warnaco Group (WRC). Morgan starts V.F. Corp (VFC), maker of Lee Jeans, at an Overweight.
Regis (RGS): The shares are initiated with a Buy at boutique brokerage Oscar Gruss.
Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG): The fast food stock is begin with an Outperform at Credit Suisse. Also see The World's 10 Strangest Fast-Food Locations.
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