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Upgrades & Downgrades: Profiting From Oracle?


Maybe the experts know something we don't know.

An ocean of black led to a sea of red with Wall Street declining as EIA data showed oil inventories up and demand off. For related content see The Untapped Energy Riches of Uzbekistan. The Dow saw its win streak snapped at six and the S&P 500 posted its worst percentage performance of the month while the beleaguered buck had its best day since August. If video killed Radio One (ROIAK) (-4.68%), clearly Coinstar (CSTR) killed the video star as evidenced in Blockbuster's (BBI) 12.05% earnings related after-hours implosion. By contrast Disney (DIS) rose 2.24% in extended trading on strong results, even if these days the big cheese is not Mickey Mouse but a robot hamster.

Tripping and stripping proved equally profitable with Chinese travel company (CTRP) strengthening 7.36% and Playboy Enterprises (PLA) skyrocketing 42.31% on takeover talk. And Anheuser-Busch Inbev's (BUD) 61% revenue surge should enable executives at the brewer to bid $8,000 for a bottle of 72 year old beer, should they so choose. If not a day late certainly a dollar short, Dollar General IPO's as scheduled after pricing the low end of expectations ($21) this morning. At 8:30AM Eastern the September trade defecit deteriorated to $36.58 billion, more than forecast, and separately October import prices were up a less than anticipated 0.7%. November's consumer confidence index, out at 9:55AM from the University of Michigan, is expected to show an increase. The hope of British Airways (BAY) for a reign in Spain now falls mainly on the planes of Iberia, which announces its earnings along with Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF), Agilent (A), Japan Airlines, JC Penney (JCP), and URS Corp. (URS).


Oracle (ORCL): UBS begins Oracle with a Buy and $27 target on its leverage to a recovery in IT expenditure.

Adobe Systems (ADBE): The broker also starts Adobe at Buy ($43 objective) due to its powerful product cycle.

Miscellaneous: UBS assumes coverage of McAfee (MFE) ($46 target price), (CRM) ($66) and Symantec (SYMC) ($19) all at Neutral.

Marshall & Ilsley (MI): The stock is initiated with a Neutral by Credit Suisse as the company's relative reserve levels are expected to crimp EPS expansion.

Fifth Third Bancorp (FITB): Credit Suisse also starts Fifth Third Bancorp at Outperform ($15 price objective) as the broker believes it has the highest risk-adjusted upside potential among regional banks.

Casinos: Deutsche Bank begins Las Vegas Sands (LVS) (Buy), Wynn Resorts (WYNN) (Buy) and MGM Mirage (MGM) (Hold).


Microsoft (MSFT): The tech giant is begun with a Buy at UBS. See also Windows 7: A Microsoft Innovation or an Apple Inspiration?

Alliant Techsystems (ATK): The stock is upgraded to Neutral from Sell at Goldman Sachs.

PetSmart (PETM): PetSmart is in the catbird seat after getting a Buy-from Neutral upgrade at Goldman.

Goodyear Tires (GT): Goldman also raises its rating on Goodyear (Buy from Neutral).

Energy Stocks: Bank of America/Merrill Lynch lifts energy names Suncor (SU) (Buy from Underperform), Talisman (TLM) (Buy from Neutral), and Nexen (NXY) (Buy from Underperform).

Frontline (FRO): FBR capital takes tanker play Frontline to Outperform from Market Perform and increases its objective by $10 to $33 on impressive earnings sensitivity to day rates.

Career Education (CECO): The stock is upgraded to Equal Weight from Underweight by Barclays Capital.

HSBC Holdings (HCS): The financial gets an Underperform-from-Sell boost at Calyon Securities

Juniper Networks (JNPR): Oppenheimer upgrades Juniper Networks (Outperform from Perform; $31 objective established) on an anticipated recovery in IP routing spending by carriers.

Advanced Micro Devices (AMD): Auriga raises Advanced Micro Devices to Hold from Sell.

Qualcomm (QCOM): Wells Fargo moves Qualcomm to Outperform from Market Perform.


Advance Auto Parts (AAP): The stock is downgraded to Neutral and also removed from the Americas Buy list at Goldman.

Oil Stocks: In oils, Goldman is adding Sunoco (SUN) to its Conviction Sell list and cutting Noble Energy (NE), downgraded to Sell from Neutral.

Perfect World (PWRD): Far from perfect for Perfect World, reduced to Neutral from Buy by Pali Research due to a full valuation.

Visa (V): Valuation is also the prime factor behind a Buy-from-Strong Buy downgrade of Visa by analysts at Duncan-William brokerage. See also Credit Card Companies Face a Grim Future.

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