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Upgrades & Downgrades: Tiffany's Time to Shine

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Maybe the experts know something we don't know.

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As any Frenchman can tell you, four day weeks don't necessarily lack action. After earlier scaling 16-month highs equities abruptly turned tail and are now under water for the year. Three successive days of triple digit losses gave the Dow its worst week since the lows of last March. A GOP win in Massachusetts saw Democrats catch a severe case of LaTourette's Syndrome on healthcare. Beantown's own Boston Beer (SAM) bucked a brutal session to jump up 1.05% on Friday but over 11,000 employees of Sam's Club won't want to play it again after being let go. Remy Cointreau posted a 4.9% increase in cognac sales though the spirit was missing from a famous grave site for the first time since 1949.

In a week which made many investors hurl, Liz Hurley was sitting pretty as Estée Lauder's (EL) mouthpiece after the stock shot up a sharp $3.41 even as the overall market corrected. (A penny for the thoughts of an erstwhile occupant of the Lipstick Building who now lives in a correctional facility.) In 10:00AM Eastern economics, existing home sales for December are expected to show a steep decline. Earnings season spans the alphabet with announcements out of AK Steel (AKS), Amgen (AMGN), Apple (AAPL), Eaton (ETN), Halliburton (HAL), Texas Instruments (TXN), and Zions Bancorp (ZION).

Initiations

Hershey Company (HSY): The stock gets reinstated at Hold by Deutsche Bank. See also First Kraft, Now Hershey Sweet on Cadbury.

SL Green Realty (SLG): SL Green is resumed with an Underperform and $39 price target at Credit Suisse.

Ciena (CIEN): Auriga initiates Ciena at a Buy with an $18 target.

Telecom Italia (TI): ING Group now covers Telecom Italia at a Hold.

Upgrades

Tiffany (TIF): HSBC upgrades Tiffany to Overweight from Neutral and takes its target to $56 from $39.

Continental Airlines (CAL): The airliner gets a 180 degree upgrade (Buy from Sell with a $25 target) at Argus on an expected improvement in international and domestic flight demand as the economy recovers.

Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF): The retailer is upgraded to Hold from Sell by Brean Murray as value investors may start to show interest at these levels. For more, see Retailers Must Get Onboard With Online Sales.

Harley-Davidson (HOG): After the horse (or hog) bolted following Friday's 7.78% slide, Goldman removes Harley Davidson from its Conviction Sell list.

Thomson Reuters (TRI): Citigroup upgrades Thomson Reuters (Buy from Hold).

Schlumberger (SLB): FBR Capital raises its Schlumberger rating to Outperform from Market Perform after earnings.

Industrial Gas: Praxair (PX) and Air Products (APD) ($100 target) are each taken to Overweight from Equal Weight at First Analysis.

O'Reilly Automotive (ORLY): The stock is now Outperform from Underperform at FBR Capital.

DryShips (DRYS): Dryships is sharply higher ahead of the open after it was among several upgrades (Buy from Hold) in the sector at Cantor Fitzgerald.

RRI Energy (RRI): The stock, formerly known as Reliant Energy gets an Outperform-from-Neutral increase at Credit Suisse.

IntercontinentalExchange (ICE): Deutsche Bank upgrades IntercontinentalExchange (Buy from Hold).

NVIDIA (NVDA): The stock gets a Neutral from Sell boost by Broadpoint Research.

Discover Financial Services (DFS): The stock is upped to Outperform from Sector Perform at RBC Capital.

Downgrades

International Game Technology (IGT): The stock gets downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Goldman Sachs.

St. Jude Medical (STJ): St. Jude is lowered to Hold from Buy at Argus after management recently lowered its EPS guidance.

Schlumberger (SLB): The oil stock is cut to Sell from Hold at Argus as market conditions are expected to remain relatively unchanged for the time being.

JP Morgan Chase (JPM): The bank stock is now Outperform from Strong Buy at Raymond James, which takes its target down $10 to $50.

SunTrust Banks (STI): Stifel Nicolaus lowers SunTrust Banks to Sell from Hold as shares are now trading at the highest price-to-normalized earnings of any large-cap bank the firm covers.

Regions Financial (RF): FBR Capital cuts Regions Financial to Market Perform from Outperform due to valuation.

Methanex (MEOH): The stock is moved to Outperform from Strong Buy at Raymond James.
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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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