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Upgrades & Downgrades: Dell Looks Like Hell


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

February 21 was arguably the most important day in the history of communism but yesterday it also proved a pretty good one for capitalism. Indeed, even Karl Marx, whose lifetime earnings comfortably placed him in the top 1% of British taxpayers, would surely have approved of the Dow (^DJI) hitting 13,000, however briefly. After 13 hours of talks in Brussels to reach a Greek debt deal of 130 billion euros, blue chips passed the 13K milestone for the first time in about 45 months, and if the wait was like watching paint dry then Sherwin-Williams (SHW), which ended at the highest level in its history, wasn't about to complain. Other winners included Wynn Resorts (WYNN), whose surge of 5.95% topped the entire S&P 500 Index (^GSPC). Its owner once punctured a priceless Picasso with his elbow of course but his surging stock options should now allow him to purchase the most stolen artwork of all time, which entered the world as did the Dow in the mid-1890′s and is suddenly up for sale again. A Japanese executive of Olympus apparently committed suicide, so shameful did he feel for bringing dishonor on his company. That is how they do things over there but in America we reward similar sorts with $140 million golden handshakes and a seat on the audit committee of Alcoa (AA), yesterday's best-performing blue chip.

Hooker Furniture (HOFT) gained 2.46% to near a new high. (Nothing to do with Dominique Strauss-Kahn, more the halo effect from Home Depot's (HD) strong earnings.) Meanwhile, for all the Jeremy Lin adulation, the real Miracle on 34th Street may not be on Madison Square Garden (MSG) but actually a couple blocks east, with Macy's(M) moving up 1.21% to a fresh four and a half year peak. Alas US Airways Group (LCC) can only look back longingly on its own Miracle on the Hudson after imploding 11.35% in a torrid transport tape. As other equities ultimately experienced vertigo, backing off their earlier 13,000 summit, Chelsea Therapeutics (CHTP) tumbled 21.19% after receiving a rejection on its dizziness drug. And the Russians revived a flora from the Ice Age. Bringing 1-800-Flowers (FLWS) back to life looks harder after it fell 4.35%, continuing a post-Valentine's Day funk. Today in economics, January existing home sales are expected to inch up slightly at 10:00 a.m. Eastern. Expect quarterly earnings announcements out of Analog Devices (ADI), Boston Beer (SAM), Caribou Coffee (CBOU), Daimler (DDAIY.PK), Express Scripts (ESRX), France Telecom (FTE), Hewlett-Packard (HPQ), Limited Brands (LTD), Sturm Ruger (RGR), and Zale Corp (ZLC)


Biomarin Pharmaceuticals (BMRN): Shares are begun with a Buy rating and $45 price objective at Citigroup, which also adds it to their Top Pick Live list.

Oil stocks: Apache (APA), Anadarko Petroleum (APC), and Noble Energy (NBL) are all new Buys at Guggenheim.

Interactive Brokers (IBKR): The firm is a fresh Outperform with Wells Fargo.

Chinese Education stocks: Jefferies initiates Buys on TAL Education (XRS), New Oriental Education & Technology (EDU), and Ambow Education (AMBO).

Multi-Color Corp (LABL): The stock is assigned a new Neutral at Robert W. Baird, which sets a $26 target price.

Air Lease Corp (AL): AL is resumed with a Buy recommendation and $30 target at Dahlman Rose, which sees rapid fleet expansion in 2012 and 2013 pushing both revenues and earnings higher.

Dendreon (DNDN): Citigroup starts the stock at a Neutral.

Maxim Integrated (MXIM): Shares are launched with a Buy at Capstone Investments.

Tesla Motors (TLSA): ThinkEquity partners picks up TLSA at a Buy.


Money managers: Apollo Global Management (APO) and Blackstone Group(BX) both get Buy-from-Neutral boosts at Goldman Sachs.

Mosaic (MOS): Canaccord Genuity moves the fertilizer firm to Buy from Hold.

Urban Outfitters (URBN): The retailer is raised to Outperform from Market Perform by BMO Capital, sending the stock up ahead of the open.

URS Corp (URS): URS is upgraded to Outperform from Neutral at Robert W. Baird, which takes its target up to $55. Catalysts include its combined platform with leverage to secular growth markets, particularly against a backdrop of improving E&C (engineering and construction) sentiment.

DDR Corp (DDR): Bank of America-Merrill Lynch lifts the stock to Buy from Neutral.

Rigel Pharmaceuticals (RIGL): RIGL is raised to Buy from Neutral at Citi.


Wal-Mart (WMT): The Dow (^DJI) member, out with unimpressive earnings yesterday, gets downgraded to Market Perform from Strong Buy at Raymond James this morning.

Barclays PLC (BCS): The British bank is moved to Underperform from Neutral at Macquarie.

BlackRock (BLK): Goldman gives the money manager a Neutral-from-Buy downgrade.

Dell Inc (DELL): Shares, trading down substantially before the bell, are cut by both Citigroup (Neutral from Buy) and Needham (Hold from Buy) after earnings and following last week's breakout to multi-year peaks. Shares are seen as range-bound in the $16 to $20 band over the near term amid headwinds from the HDD (hard disc drive) shortage and ongoing weakness in U.S. federal, state, and consumer spending.

Yahoo (YHOO): The Internet outfit is cut to Underperform from Buy at Crédit Agricole.

Philip Morris International (PM): The tobacco titan is now Reduce from Neutral at Nomura.

Medtronic (MDT): Deutsche Bank downgrades the medical device maker to Hold from Buy and Credit Suisse takes it to Neutral from Outperform.

Newfield Exploration (NFX): NFX is now Neutral from Buy at Citigroup and Hold from Buy at Deutsche Bank.

Dow Chemical (DOW): DOW gets slashed to Sell from Hold at Gilford Securities.

PG&E Corp (PCG): Goldman gives the company a Neutral-from-Buy downgrade.

Akzo Nobel N.V. (AKZOY.PK): Shares get lowered to Hold from Buy at ING Groep.

Human Genome Sciences (HGSI): RBC Capital reduces its recommendation to Sector Perform from Outperform.

Hibbett Sportings (HIBB): HIBB is now Hold from Buy at Needham due to valuation.

Kronos Worldwide (KRO): Deutsche Bank cuts KRO to Hold from Buy.

Rockwood Holdings (ROC): ROC is moved to Neutral from Overweight at JP Morgan.

Statoil ASA (STO): The Norwegian oil outfit gets downgraded to Neutral from Overweight at HSBC Securities.

Tesco PLC (TSCDY.PK): Shares of the British grocery giant are trading lower in London this morning after getting moved to Underperform from Neutral by Bank of America-Merrill Lynch.

Gilead Sciences (GILD): The troubled drug company is taken to Market Perform from Outperform by Sanford Bernstein.

WebMD Health (WBMD): Goldman slashes the stock to Sell from Neutral.

WPP Group plc (WPPBY): The British advertising giant gets downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Citi.
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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