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Upgrades & Downgrades: Analyst Has Big Beef With Wendy's


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

The Dow Index ended up 1.41%, gaining for a fourth straight week amid increased investor optimism over Europe and a solid start to earnings season here at home. Financials fared best, with Bank of America (BAC) and Morgan Stanley (MS) both beating Street expectations on account of accounting. (Interesting way to mark the tenth anniversary of Enron.) Wall Street Occupiers, imbued with the spirit of 1967′s Summer of Love, continued their campaign into a New York autumn although hopefully they eschewed the advice of that year's iconic movie and chose not to invest in "plastics", especially after Crocs Inc. (CROX) stock cratered 43.46% in five days. The aforementioned starving artists are actually pleasingly plump as they squander a hard-earned inheritance handed on by their parents while feasting on heirloom potatoes. Meanwhile Margin Call, a movie about the financial crisis, debuted with an ominously thin Demi Moore.

Brent crude oil slipped over $4 in a soft commodity sector to trade below $110, this as Libya's 1.5 million daily barrels of high-quality output could come back on line after the death of Colonel Gaddafi. The world breathed a sign of relief as we finally kissed the dictator, in power since 1969, goodbye only days before the man who wrote "Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye" that same year sadly also passed away. And in an exquisite sign of the times, British band UB40 - whose name comes from the Unemployment Benefit Form 40 issued by Her Majesty's government - declared bankruptcy. No-top tier economic data out today but peak week for third-quarter earnings kicks off with Amgen Inc (AMGN), Caterpillar (CAT), Kimberly-Clark Corp (KMB), Lorillard (LO), Luxottica (LUX), Owens & Minor (OMI), Netflix (NFLX), and Texas Instruments (TXN) all due to report results.


Home improvement retailers: Dow component Home Depot (HD) is begun with a Buy at Citigroup, which has a new Neutral on smaller competitor Lowes (LOW).

News Corp (NWSA): The media giant is resumed with an Equal Weight at Morgan Stanley. For related content, see Top 10 Moments in Rupert Murdoch's Checkered Career.

Agilent (A): The onetime spin-off of Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) gets begun with a Buy at UBS, which establishes a price objective of $43.

Chemtura (CHMT): Oppenheimer picks up CHMT at Perform.

Taleo (TLEO): The stock is named a long Research Tactical Idea at Morgan Stanley.

Accretive Health (AH): AH is assigned an Underweight at Piper Jaffray.

Power-One (PWER): Shares are initiated with an Underweight at Morgan Stanley.

Lufkin Industries (LUFK): The stock gets launched with a Buy rating and $68 price target at Global Hunter Securities, which says they are a good way to play the substantial growth in rigs drilling for oil on land, both in the US and internationally.

LPL Investment (LPLA): The stock is assumed with an Outperform at brokers William Blair.


FedEx (FDX): Lazard lifts the package delivery giant to Buy from Neutral.

BHP Billiton (BHP): The mining giant gets upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Goldman, which also adds it to their list of Conviction Buys.

Xilinx Inc. (XLNX): Shares are up sharply ahead of the opening bell after being boosted to Outperform from Sector Perform at Pacific Crest.

Noble Energy (NBL): NBL is now Oupterform from Market Perform at BMO Capital.

Nordic American Tanker (NAT): NAT is upgraded to Hold from Sell at Cantor Fitzgerald.

Duke Realty (DRE): Brokerage Robert W. Baird raises its DRE rating on the REIT to Outperform from Neutral with a $14 target. It views their $1 billion suburban office sale to Blackstone (BX) favorably as it considerably accelerates company's asset repositioning strategy. Also read Can Foreign Buyers Save the Housing Market?

Insurance stocks: Barclays boosts XL Group (XL), Willis Group (WSH), Marsh & McLennan (MMC), Arthur Gallagher (AJG), and Brown & Brown (BRO), all now Overweight from Equal Weight.


Overseas mining stocks: Rio Tinto (RIO) and Anglo American are each now Neutral from Buy at Goldman. See also Major Trends in Gold, Silver, and Mining Stocks.

International Flavors & Fragrances Inc. (IFF): IFF is downgraded to Sector Perform from Outperform at RBC Capital.

IdaCorp (IDA): The stock is moved to Market Perform from Outperform with Wells Fargo.

Sabra Healthcare REIT (SBRA): JPMorgan moves SBRA to Market Perform from Outperform.

Torchmark TMK is taken to Neutral from Buy at Citigroup.

Teva Pharmaceuticals (TEVA): The stock is now Neutral from Overweight at Piper Jaffray.

Energy Conversion (ENER): UBS gives a Sell-from-Neutral downgrade to ENER.

Shaw Communications SJR is lowered to Neutral from Buy by Bank of America-Merrill Lynch.

Wendy's (WEN): The fast food firm is cut to Neutral from Buy at Suntrust.

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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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