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Upgrades & Downgrades: No Hollywood Ending for Netflix


Maybe the experts know something we don't know.

The Dow rose to its highest level since October 1st of '08 on a day it didn't pay to be color blind. After an executive of Blue Coat Systems (BCSI) rang Nasdaq's opening bell, the Fed's beige-book gave equities a mid-afternoon boost and Green Mountain Coffee (GMCR) ended up 6.29%. Meanwhile black gold was in the red, oil falling below $80 a barrel to 2010 lows on an increase in inventories. The S&P 500 continued a remarkable rebound from its March jam; a sucker's rally this may be but a Smucker's (SJM) rally it undeniably is as the peanut butter maker moved back to its July 2007 peak.

Goldman's (GS) chief was grilled on the Hill as cameras - and heads - started rolling on A Blankfein Mess (with apologies to Stan Laurel, if not Stan O'Neal). See also Everything You Need to Know About the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission. That the commission is led by an ex-Treasurer of California, that model of fiscal rectitude, fails to fill one with confidence. And although corn cratered for a second straight session, off over 2% on predictions of a bountiful harvest, Cornell Companies (CRN) fared far better. While inmates strive mightily to get out of its buildings, shareholders may do well to stay in the stock. In 8:30 AM Eastern economics, initial unemployment claims increased 11,000 to 444,000. December Retail sales disappointed, down 0.3% overall and off 0.2% ex-autos. Intel (INTC), which reports results after the close, headlines today's earnings announcements. See also Eight Reasons Intel Is Best in Class.


Bank Stocks: Bank of America (BAC), JP Morgan (JPM), and Wells Fargo (WFC) are begun with Buys at Ladenburg Thalmann on a belief the worst of the financial crisis is past. See also Why Vilifying the Banks Matters.

BB&T (BBT): BMO Capital initiates BB&T with a Market Perform and sets a $29 price target.

Fortune Brands (FO): Morgan Stanley picks up Fortune Brands with an Equal Weight and $46 price objective.

Miscellaneous: The same broker begins Constellation Brands (STZ) (Overweight; $21 target), Molson Coors (TAP) (Equal Weight; $51), and Brown-Forman (BF-B) (Underweight; $50).

Spectra Energy (SE): Bank of America/Merrill starts Spectra Energy at a Buy.


ArcelorMittal (MT): The stock gets upgraded to Outperform from Neutral by BNP Paribas.

Lennar (LEN): Barclays boosts Lennar to Overweight from Equal-weight takes its target to $20 from $17. For more insight, see Seven Reasons Not to Enter Lennar.

Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG): Wells Fargo upgrades Chipotle Mexican Grill (Market Perform from Underperform).

China Sunergy (CSUN): The stock is moved to Buy from Hold at Lazard.

Baxter (BAX): The stock gets an Outperform-from-Market Perform boost by Morgan Keegan, which says it does not expect a significant dislocation in IVIG supply and demand or aggressive price declines.

Tyson Foods (TSN): Tyson is taken to Outperform from Neutral ($16 target) at Credit Suisse as there is potentially 20% upside to valuation.


Netflix (NFLX): The stock is now Sell (from Hold) at Lazard.

Toll Brothers (TOL): Barclays takes Toll Brothers to Equal-weight from Overweight.

Gammon Gold (GRS): Gammon gets lowered to Market Perform from Outperform by BMO Capital.

Alcon (ACL): Citigroup cuts Alcon (Hold from Buy). See also Alcon: Shareholders Without Rights.

Clean Energy Fuels (CLNE): Lazard lowers Clean Energy Fuels to Hold from Buy.

Trinity Industries (TRN): The stock gets taken to Hold from Buy at BB&T.

Becton Dickinson (BDX): The stock is reduced to Market Perform from Outperform at Morgan Keegan.
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