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Upgrades & Downgrades: Lockheed Martin Gets Knocked Down

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Maybe the experts know something we don't know.

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The Dow and Nikkei each ended off, though they remain above the 10,000 mark which both recently breached to much fanfare. (Of course, go back two and twenty years respectively and the benchmarks were over 14,000 and almost 40,000 but that's another story for another day.) Laggards included Meredith Corp. (MDP) (-2.48%) and Whitney Holding Corp. (WTNY) (-7.74%), Meredith Whitney was unavailable for comment. Sherwin-Williams (SHW) painted the tape -- if not the town -- red with a 6.39% swoon. And Beantown was beaten down as Boston Scientific (BSX) (-15.65%) led S&P 500 laggards and Boston based State Street (STT) slumped 8.31%, serving investors a big bagel even as its Massachusetts banking brethren turn to donuts. Barclays Capital, whose recent history in equity analysis is second to none, gave a boost to Ford (F) (+1.85%), whose founder was famous for saying history is bunk.

Bernie Kerik joined Bernie Madoff in jail, presumably in a superior cell since he was once New York City's Police Commissioner. Bartz and Bratz are in the news, Yahoo (YHOO) CEO Carol getting kudos after the company's third quarter profit beat the Street while the upstart fashion doll faces fresh competition from Barbie. In economics the Fed's Beige Book is released at 2:00 PM Eastern and expect earnings out of Altria (MO) (see also Why Altria's Earnings Might be Smokin', Amgen (AMGN), AMR Corp. (AMR), Boeing (BA), Continental Airlines (CAL), eBay (EBAY), Eli Lilly (LLY), Morgan Stanley (MS), US Bancorp (USB) and Wells Fargo (WFC).

Initiations

Stryker (SYK): The stock is initiated at Underweight by Barclays Capital.

Energy Stocks: Credit Suisse picks up coverage of energy master limited partnerships with an Overweight as they offer a compelling relative value proposition. Among the Outperform ratings it assigns are Energy Transfer Partners (ETP), Kinder Morgan (KMP), and Plains All American (PAA).

Barclays (BCS): FBR Capital begins Baclays with an Outperform as it has emerged from the financial crisis with an improved franchise.

Quality Systems (QSII): This stock doesn't live up to its name, initiated at Underperform ($60 price target) at Bank of America/Merrill Lynch.

Williams-Sonoma (WSM): Thomas Weisel initiates Williams-Sonoma with a Market Weight.

Upgrades

Novartis (NVS): Novartis is upgraded to to Outperform from In-line at Cazenove on improved R&D augmented by additional cost cuts.

BioMarin Pharmaceutical (BMRN): The biotech firm is added to the Top Picks Live list at Citigroup as the recent share price decline is an attractive buying opportunity.

Forest Laboratories (FRX): Fellow health care play Forest Labs is increased to Outperform from Neutral at Cowen.

Stryker: Mentioned earlier, this stock is lifted to Neutral from Underperform by Bank of America/Merrill Lynch.

Autodesk (ADSK): Kaufman Brothers raises its Autodesk rating (Buy from Hold) and increases its price objective $4 to $30 on positive trends from manufacturing and construction clients.

Lexmark International (LXK): JP Morgan upgrades Lexmark International to Neutral from Underweight, taking its target to $27.50 from $14.50.

Downgrades

Novartis: The company is less loved this side of the Atlantic, Morgan Stanley taking it to Equal-Weight from Overweight.

Devon Energy (DVN): Far from heaven for Devon Energy, cut to Equal-Weight from Overweight at Morgan Stanley with better prospects at peers.

Brinker International (EAT): Humble pie may be on the menu for Brinker International after getting downgraded at Goldman Sachs (Buy to Neutral) on management's opaque earnings guidance.

Western Union (WU): Down to the wire for Western Union, transferred to Outperform from Buy at Calyon Securities.

Lockheed Martin (LMT): Morgan Keegan lowers Lockheed Martin to Market Perform from Outperform. Lockheed is also cut to Hold by Brean Murray after an uninspiring earnings report.
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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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