Upgrades & Downgrades: Bunge Set to Jump
Wall Street ratings agencies set the tone for today's stock market.
They said PIIGS would fly when Europe got its fiscal house in order and hey, you wait long enough, it happens. Stocks surged, blue chips bouncing back from last week's drubbing to post their best performance in over a month on signs the continent is at long last taking coordinated action to tackle its economic crisis. This despite monthly new home sales here in the US falling to their lowest level since 1963. Which was when the suddenly ubiquitous Pan Am building went up; its successor Met Life (MET) skyrocketed 6.52% in a strong financial sector. Eastman Kodak (EK) also introduced its iconic Instamatic that year, but the stock's 26.89% tumble suggests we won't soon see a return to their salad days. Speaking of, Le Gaga Holdings (GAGA), Chinese purveyor of cabbage, carrots, and cucumbers, slid 7.71% on an otherwise stellar day but Martha Stewart (MSO) -- who preferred to "focus on [my] salad" rather than answer awkward insider trading questions -- saw her stock gain 3.63% after rejoining the board.
The dead get rent subsidies in New York but one dying industry is looking to live for the first time. (Or not; Elvis is after all the top selling stamp ever.) Meanwhile Stamps.com (STMP) some of whose offerings have been in decidedly questionable taste, fell 5.39%. And an analyst upgrade of Otis maker United Technologies (UTX) helped lift the Dow member 3.82%. If only the elevator it installed in the Washington Monument was in similarly strong shape. Today in economics, analysts expect an increase in September consumer confidence at 10:00AM Eastern. On the earnings front Accenture (ACN), American Greetings (AM), Jabil Circuit (JBL), Omnova Solutions (OMN), Park Electrochemical (PKE), Paychex (PAYX), Progress Software (PRGS), Sealy Corp (ZZ), Standard Microsystems (SMSC), and Walgreen (WAG) are all due to report results.
Alcohol Stocks: Boston Beer Co (SAM) is begun with a Hold rating and $79 price objective at Auriga. While sales remain relatively robust, concerns include tough comps and rising commodity costs. It begins a more bullish Buy on Constellation Brands (STZ), whose target price is $25. Catalysts include a strong portfolio of several top wine and spirit brands.
Callon Petroleum (CPE): The small cap stock is a new Neutral ($5 target) at brokers Robert W. Baird.
Alexion Pharmaceuticals (ALXN): ALXN is a new Outperform at Oppenheimer, which has a $74 price target amid optimism over its Soliris phase II results in severe/refractory generalized myasthenia gravis.
Tech Stocks: Aruba Networks (ARUN) and F5 Networks (FFIV) are each Holds at Jefferies.
Vera Bradley Inc (VRA): The handbag manufacturer is begun with a Buy and $50 target at Jefferies.
Education Stocks: FBR Capital covers the under-performing sector, assigning Outpeforms on American Public Education (APEI) and Grand Canyon Education (LOPE). Its respective price objectives are $45 and $19.
Gartner (IT): IT is initiated with a Neutral at Goldman Sachs.
Booz Allen Hamilton (BAH): The consulting firm is a new Negative at Susquehanna.
Food Stocks: Lazard launches Buy rated coverage on Panera Bread (PNRA) ($137 target) and has new Neutrals on Einstein Noah (BAGL) and Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG).
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