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Upgrades & Downgrades: It Pays to Be Prudential


Maybe the experts know something we don't know.

Beware black swans on Black Friday. With the stock market closing early at 1pm Eastern, a dull day was widely expected but this week reminds us it's never over till Susan Boyle sings. While you were sleeping, tiptoeing through the tryptophan, a sheikh out occurring in debt ridden Dubai has futures in a funk twenty four hours after inflation made a startling return to the streets of New York. Such drama seemed a world away on Wednesday, when slim gains on thin volume moved markets to fresh 13-month highs before the Thanksgiving plumping up. See also Dubai Debt Issues Send Markets Into a State of Flux. In hindsight however the failure of even life's two certainties to prove profitable was a warning, with a 1.3% Hump Day humbling for tax titan H&R Block (HRB) hard on the heels of Tuesday's 6.9% tumble from funeral firm Hillenbrand (HI).


CRH plc (CRH): ING Group starts British building material firm CRH plc with a Sell.


Prudential (PUK): Prudential gets a Buy-from-Hold boost from Citigroup.

QLT Inc (QLTI): The stock is upgraded to Outperform from Sector Perform at RBC Capital Markets, which also takes its price target up $1.50 to $6.00.


ABB Ltd (ABB): The stock is lowered to Neutral from Overweight at HSBC Securities.

CGI Group (GIB): CGI gets cut to Sector Perform from Outperform at Scotia Capital.

First State Bancorp (FSNM): Keefe, Bruyette downgrades First State Bancorp to Market Perform from Outperform and trims its target to $1 from $3, the broker believing the company is under-capitalized on a consolidated basis and needs additional capital to get through the cycle.

R&G Financial: Keefe, Bruyette also reduces its R&G Financial rating (Market Perform from Outperform) due to negative tangible common equity, critically low reserves and high relative NPL levels. The new price objective is $2.50, down from $1.00.
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