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Upgrades & Downgrades: Starbucks Is Perking Up


Maybe the experts know something we don't know.

Moldova may say swine flu can be conquered with garlic, but it is evidently useless against vampires. Indeed with a New Moon movie reigning at the weekend box office and Michael Jackson's Moonwalk glove going for anything but a song at auction, additional studies linking stocks and lunar cycles are undoubtedly in the works. Shares lost steam as last week lingered, closing with three straight drops after earlier hitting 13-month peaks, though the Dow did gain for a third successive week.

Sara Lee (SLE), at a fresh 52-week high, and Sarah Palin, atop the Amazon (AMZN) best seller list, enjoyed hot streaks but David Beckham was beaten to both People magazine's Sexiest Man Alive and soccer silverware in sudden death. Gold is setting its seventh consecutive nominal record and the dollar stands at a six-week low against the yen on admittedly light volume. Expect earnings announcements out of Analog Devices (ADI), Atwood Oceanics (ATW), BJ Services (BJS), Brocade (BRCD), Campbell Soup (CPB), Hewlett-Packard (HPQ), Tech Data (TECD), Tyson Foods (TSN), and Zale (ZLC). In economics, at 10:00 AM Eastern October existing home sales are expected to show an increase.


Credit Cards: Morgan Stanley starts American Express (AXP) (Overweight and $51 price objective) and Capital One Financial (COF) (Equal-Weight). See also Credit Card Companies Face a Grim Future.

RailAmerica (RA): The stock is initiated at Overweight by both Morgan Stanley ($17 price target) and JP Morgan ($18), while Citigroup begins it with a Buy and $16 target price.

Vitamin Shoppe (VSI): Pali Research assumes coverage of Vitamin Shoppe at a Buy and sets a target of $22.

Oshkosh (OSK): JP Morgan initiates Oshkosh with a Neutral.

Lear Corp. (LEA-WI): Bank of America/Merrill Lynch resumes Lear Corp with a Buy and sets an $85 target.


Starbucks (SBUX): The coffee giant gets a Buy-from-Hold upgrade at Jefferies, due to its expectation for continued EPS upside in coming quarters. The target is increased $3 to $25. See also Starbucks: The Free Market at Its Best.

AmerisourceBergen (ABC): Sanford Bernstein upgrades AmerisourceBergen to Market Perform from Underperform.

DR Horton (DHI): Citigroup raises its DR Horton rating to Hold from Sell, though the target is reduced to $10.50 from $10.75.

JM Smucker (SJM): JP Morgan upgrades JM Smucker (Overweight from Neutral) after Friday's strength in the stock and increases its objective by $6 to $65.

Deere (DE): The farm equipment maker, due to report on Wednesday and up 7% last week, is raised to Overweight from Equal-weight by Morgan Stanley. The new target is $64, up from $48.

Zions Bancorp (ZION): The regional bank is boosted to Buy from Hold ($17.50 target maintained) by Soleil Securities. For more, see The Bipolar World of Financial Institution Accounting.

Schlumberger (SLB): Credit Suisse lifts Schlumberger to Outperform from Neutral with a price objective of $76.

Nasdaq OMX (NDAQ): The stock gets a Buy-from Neutral increase at Goldman Sachs.

NII Holdings (NIHD): The stock is also upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Goldman.

Healthcare: JP Morgan upgrades WellPoint (WLP) and Cigna (CI), each to Overweight from Neutral, with shares trading at 8x and 7x their respective 2010 EPS outlooks.

Qwest (Q): The stock is upped to Neutral from Underweight at Piper Jaffray.


Ciena (CIEN): The network software company is cut to Market Perform from Outperform at Morgan Keegan as the Nortel deal introduces risks.

Western Gas Partners (WES): The stock is downgraded to Equal Weight from Overweight at Morgan Stanley.

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