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Upgrades & Downgrades: Boeing Could Fly Higher


Maybe the experts know something we don't know.

Stocks snapped a three day winning streak as the Dow, which had been up almost 64 points, ended down after President Obama asked for an up-or-down vote on healthcare. (Our headliner Pepsi (PEP) however, whose stock symbol was a perfect palindrome pick on 3/3, rose 0.99% on upbeat analyst comments.) Rehabcare (RHB) slumped 7.94% after an earnings miss, taking some of the Sheen off what should be the days of wine (or Winehouse) and roses for such services.

By contrast making money was dollars to doughnuts for investors in Einstein Noah Restaurant Group (BAGL), which jumped 5.65% on a Buy initiation at Jefferies. Perhaps neurotic New York parents, pushing to get little Billy into Harvard at age two, should feed him dough not DVD's. Today in economics, January factory orders and pending home sales are each released at 10:00AM Eastern. On the corporate front earnings are expected out of Anheuser-Busch InBev (BUD), Ciena (CIEN), Marvell Technology (MRVL), Mentor Graphics (MENT), Methode Electronics (MEI), Urban Outfitters (URBN), and Wendy's/Arby's (WEN).


Madison Square Garden (MSG): UBS initiates Madison Square Garden at Neutral.

Liberty Starz (LSTZA): The stock is started at Buy, also at UBS.

Boeing (BA): CK Cooper now covers Boeing (Buy).

Dole Food (DOLE): The stock gets begun with an Equal Weight at Morgan Stanley.

Thomas Weisel (TWPG): Saying it expects only conservative improvements in capital markets activity for fiscal 2010, Jesup & Lamont starts Thomas Weisel at a Sell and assigns a $3 target.

Intuitive Surgical (ISRG): The stock is initiated with a Sell at Brigantine, which assigns a $297 price target. The broker believes shares are extremely over-extended on a variety of valuation measures.


Walt Disney (DIS): The stock is higher ahead of the open after being upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Bank of America/Merrill Lynch, which takes its price target to $42 from $33. The broker notes that a falling unemployment rate will aid both its theme parks and consumer segments. For a related story, see Viacom Accelerates Hulu's Inevitable Downfall.

Royal Caribbean Cruises (RCL): The stock gets a Neutral-from-Sell upgrade at Goldman Sachs.

Coca-Cola (KO): UBS raises its Coca-Cola rating to Buy from Neutral.

Aviation Stocks: It's a good day for Boeing, boosted by UBS to Neutral from Sell, as is fellow aviation stock Spirit Aerosystems (SPR) at the same firm.

BB&T (BBT): Sanford Bernstein upgrades BB&T Corp to Outperform from Market Perform.

FedEx (FDX): Morgan Keegan moves FedEx to Outperform from Market Perform. Favorable factors include increased earnings potential as volumes recover after recent cost actions. See also Why the USPS Is Destined to Fail.


Regional Banks: Sanford Bernstein moves M&T Bank (MTB) and Fifth Third Bancorp (FITB), each now Market Perform from Outperform.

Convergys (CVG): Kaufman cuts Convergys (Sell from Hold) due to valuation, with the $11 price objective intact.

Amylin Pharmaceuticals (AMLN): The stock gets lowered to Underperform from Market Perform by BMO Capital. See also Amylin's Other Drug to Watch.

Avery Dennison (AVY): Bank of America/Merrill Lynch lowers Avery Dennison, now Neutral from Buy.

DineEquity (DIN): Raymond James reduces its rating on DineEquity to Outperform from Strong Buy.
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