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Upgrades & Downgrades: Autodesk Is Sitting Pretty


Maybe the experts know something we don't know.

Stocks slumped in a week when experts in economics can't hold a candle to collectors of comics. The 'present situations' component of consumer confidence collapsed to a 27-year trough, far below what Wall Street soothsayers expected and enough to send shares into their steepest tailspin in almost three weeks. By contrast, a ten cent Superman tome from the depths of the Depression went for one million at auction. That the cover featured the Man of Steel lifting an automobile was of no consolation to either US Steel (X) -- which fell 4.45% in a weak commodities sector -- or Toyota (TM) whose public grilling picks up pace. At least the carmaker can comfort itself with the knowledge that misery loves company, since South Korea's Hyundai also announced a recall (an action sure to prompt some Seoul searching from a person on the peninsula who took 950 attempts to pass her driving test).

On a day the Dow dropped 100.97 points Zale's (ZLC) -- which bills itself as "America's diamond store since 1924″ -- zoomed 27.36% as it aims to emerge from tough times. It wasn't alone in fighting "to the last rock"; apparently America's rivalry with China now even extends to women's curling. If it's Hump Day it must be Humphrey-Hawkins day, at least for Ben Bernanke as the Fed head takes to Capitol Hill for his semi-annual testimony which should be livelier than usual. On the macro front January new home sales are anticipated to tick up at 10:00AM Eastern. Earnings are out from Blockbuster (BBI), Chico's FAS (CHS), Express Scripts (ESRX), J. M. Smucker (SJM), Saks (SKS), (CRM), TJX Cos (TJX), and Washington Post (WPO).


Media Stocks: Janney Montgomery Scott begins Time Warner (TWX) and Viacom (VIA) with Buys on both.

Tech Stocks: Calyon covers several new names in technology including Red Hat (RHT) (Outperform, $33 price objective), (CRM) (Outperform, $78), Sybase (SY) (Outperform; $50), VeriSign (VRSN) (Buy, $29), and Citrix Systems (CTXS) (Underperform, $46).

Washington REIT (WRE): The stock is resumed with a Neutral and $26 target at Credit Suisse, which believes a premium valuation relative to the office sector will be difficult to attain in the near term. See also What to Expect From the Commercial Real Estate Crisis.

Exchange Stocks: Ticonderoga starts NYSE Euronext (NYX) and Nasdaq OMX (NDAQ) with Neutrals on each and assigns Buys on IntercontinentalExchange (ICE) ($125 target) and CME Group (CME) ($340).

Altera (ALTR): The stock is reinstated at Buy ($30 target) at Stifel Nicolaus.

Broadcom (BRCM): Stifel Nicholaus also begins Broadcom with a Buy.


Autodesk (ADSK): The stock is upgraded to Buy from Hold with a $31 price objective at Needham. The broker says the company has high functionality design software sold at an attractive price through a low cost distribution channel.

Novo Nordisk (NVO): Jefferies ugprades Novo Nordisk to Buy from Hold. The broker is raising its Victoza peak sales forecast to $650 million from $550 million, citing a better than expected EU launch and possible delays to filing of potential competitor taspoglutide.

Bucyrus International (BUCY): The stock is added to the Americas Buy list at Goldman Sachs.

ONEOK Partners LP (OKS): The stock is higher ahead of the open after a Buy-from-Hold boost at Citigroup.

Under Armour (UA): Morgan Stanley moves Under Armour to Equal-weight from Underweight and takes its target to $27 from $23.

FPL Group (FPL): Credit Suisse upgrades FPL Group, now Outperform from Neutral.

EOG Resources (EOG): Goldman Sachs increases EOG Resources to Buy from Neutral.


Apache (APA): Apache gets a Neutral-from-Buy downgrade at Goldman.

Banco Santander (STD): Barclays takes Banco Santander to Underweight from Equal-Weight.

Noble Energy (NBL): The stock is now Perform (from Outperform) at Oppenheimer as it says the company's guidance of low production growth and sharply higher exploration expense could mean 2010 earnings come in below the last year's level. For a related story, see Energy Markets Take a Firm Tone.

STEC, Inc (STEC): After its worse than expected first quarter earnings guidance, STEC is slashed at Deutsche Bank (Hold from Buy), Thomas Weisel (Market Weight from Overweight), and JP Morgan (Neutral from Overweight with the target taken all the way to $12.50 from $42) -- among others.

AXA (AXA): The stock gets a Sell-from-Hold downgrade at ING Group.

Entergy (ETR): Saying it believes that the stock's risk/reward profile is more balanced over the next 3 to 6 months, Credit Suisse cuts Entergy from its US Focus List.

Blue Coat Systems (BCSI): The stock is lower before the bell following a Neutral-from-Buy cut at MKM Partners. The broker believes share price catalysts, including margin improvement and the CFO position being permanently filled, have already been achieved.
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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