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Upgrades & Downgrades: Sirona Dental Is All Smiles


Wall Street ratings agencies set the tone for today's stock market.

The cover curse remains as reliable as ever in sports - no sooner did the industry's bible put Jeremy Lin on its front page than his team lost in quick succession to the last-placed Hornets and 10-24 Nets - but finance is proving stubbornly resistant to the tradition. Granted, that Dow (^DJI) 15,000 recently prophesied by Barron's is still some way off but the index did gain 1.16% to a near four-year high in tandem with the paper's publication as macro data continued to come in ahead of expectations on both sides of the Atlantic. Indeed in the U.K. inflation fell to its lowest level since 2010, the country finally getting a grip on runaway prices by giving the boot to its underperforming Italian soccer coach. (But not before handing him a £1.5 million golden handshake on top of a £6 million annual salary; Britain's Prime Minister earns £142,500 a year.) Align Technology (ALGN), who, as every Englishman can tell you, is a leader in the teeth straightening industry, rose 4.6% to new highs.

Frontier Communications (FTR) gained 18% to top the S&P 500 Index (^GSPC), the provider of phone services to rural areas apparently benefiting from one mighty long distance call. Europe continued to kick the can but that was just fine for footwear firm Steven Madden Ltd (SHOO), which shot up 7.9% to a fresh peak ahead of this morning's results. Dolly Parton's generous proportions are such that she has by all accounts never seen her shoes but don't feel sorry, for a diva's untimely demise means millions more for the country singer. Cute cuddly offerings for Valentine's Day didn't do much for Build-A-Bear Workshop (BBW), which imploded 30.4%. Something to sleep on, perhaps. Amid all last week's declarations of romantic love - and with all due respect to Paul Simon - Gilead Sciences (GILD) discovered 50 ways to lose your liver, tumbling 12.6% after a hepatitis C trial relapse. No top-tier economic data today but earnings announcements are expected out of Aztec Industries (ASTE), Barnes & Noble (BKS), Dell Inc (DELL), Home Depot (HD), Kraft Foods (KFT), La-Z-Boy (LZB), Macy's (M), RadioShack (RSH), Saks Inc (SKS), and Wal-Mart (WMT).


Medical equipment: Sirona Dental Systems (SIRO) is begun with a Buy at Citigroup, which has a new Neutral on Dentsply (XRAY).

Mechel Steel (MTL): The Russian commodity company is initiated with an Overweight at HSBC Securities, which assigns it a price objective of $15.80.

Armour Residential REIT (ARR): Deutsche Bank resumes Buy rated coverage on ARR.

Ivanhoe Mines (IVN): Shares are launched with a Buy at Bank of America-Merrill Lynch.


Advanced Energy Industries (AEIS): Shares are now Buy from Neutral at Citi.

Chesapeake Lodging Trust (CHSP): RBC Capital raises its recommendation to Outperform from Sector Perform.

Cumberland Pharmaceuticals (CPIX): CPIX is moved to Outperform from Market Perform with Wells Fargo.

Dangdang (DANG): The Chinese e-commerce company gets increased to Outperform from Neutral at Credit Suisse.

Frontline (FRO): FBR Capital increases the small cap stock to Outperform from Market Perform with a $5.50 target price. With the firm having successfully completing its restructuring, downside risk is limited at current levels. Shares are sharply higher before the bell as a result.

Garmin (GRMN): The GPS (global positioning satellite) firm is upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at Avondale.

Heineken (HINKY.PK): The Dutch brewing giant, whose other brands include Amstel, Dos Equis, Fosters, and Kingfisher, gets a Hold-from-Sell hoist at Société Générale.

Life Technologies (LIFE): Citigroup lifts LIFE to Buy from Neutral.

MicroStrategy (MSTR): MSTR is moved to Market Perform from Underperform by brokerage Raymond James.

Pharmacyclics (PCYC): Shares are upgraded to Outperform from Sector Perform at RBC Capital.

Pentair (PNR): Citi adds the stock to its list of Top Picks Live.

Sappi Limited (SPP): The South African pulp and paper powerhouse is upgraded to Outperform from Neutral at Credit Suisse.

Unum Group (UNM): JP Morgan moves the insurance outfit to Overweight from Neutral.


General Electric (GE): The key Dow (^DJI) component is removed from Citigroup's Top Picks Live List.

Oracle (ORCL): JMP Securities takes the tech titan to Market Perform from Market Outperform.

Semiconductor equipment: Lam Research (LRCX) and KLA-Tencor (KLAC) are each now Neutral from Overweight at JP Morgan.

Infosys (INFY): Credit Suisse cuts the Indian outsourcer to Neutral from Outperform.

Limited (LTD): The Victoria's Secret owner, recently trading at historic highs, is now Neutral from Positive at Susquehanna.

Marriott International (MAR): Atlantic Equities moves the accommodation outfit to Neutral from Overweight.

Host Hotels (HST): Staying in the sector, shares are now Equal Weight from Overweight at Morgan Stanley.

OmniVision (OVTI): Lazard lowers the equity to Neutral from Buy.

Gilead Sciences (GILD): Barclays gives an Equal Weight-from-Overweight downgrade to GILD.

Under Armour (UA): US is now Hold from Buy at Needham.

Railroads: Norfolk Southern (NSC) and rival CSX Corp (CSX) are both reduced to Neutral from Overweight at JP Morgan.
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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