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Upgrades & Downgrades: Getting On the Inside of Intel


Maybe the experts know something we don't know.

Stocks snapped a four week losing streak as Brussels finally flexed its muscles to aid Athens, investors bought beaten down tech stocks, and LeapFrog (LF) -- up 47.3% -- lived up to its name. Apple (AAPL), newly named the world's most respected company by Barron's, aims to avoid the fate of a similarly exalted entity of yesteryear. Beijing begins the Year of the Tiger, hoping to have a better one than Mr. Woods. And another Senator bid bye-Bayh to Washington, where wintry weather and an official holiday has limited the federal government's workload to one day out of six. As incumbents across America suddenly see the writing on the wall, an inability to correctly spell their own country cost the men in charge of Chile's money a mint. Today's earnings include Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF), Barclays (BCS), InterContinental Hotels (IHG), Kraft Foods (KFT), Medtronic (MDT), Merck (MRK), Nabors Industries (NBR), Qwest Communications (Q), Teva Pharmaceutical (TEVA), Waste Management (WM), Whole Foods Market (WFMI), and Winn-Dixie (WINN).


Tech Stocks: Citing concerns that investors may not be discounting all of the risks associated with consensus estimates, Auriga initiates Analog Devices (ADI) and Linear Technology (LLTC) with Sells and has a Hold and $23 target on Maxim Integrated Products (MXIM).

Art Technology (ARTG): Deutsche Bank initiates Art Technology at Buy and establishes a $6 price objective as the company's market leadership and differentiated product platform should drive sustainable mid-teens to 20% organic revenue growth in the attractive eCommerce space.

Lukoil: The Royal Bank of Scotland starts Lukoil with a Buy.

Autoliv (ALV): Credit Suisse initiates Autoliv at Underperform and sets an objective of $40.

Gas Stocks: Air Products (APD) (Overweight) and Praxair (PX) (Equal Weight) are each picked up at Morgan Stanley.


Procter & Gamble (PG): The stock is added to the US Focus List at Credit Suisse, which believes that after underperforming peers and the market by a wide margin last year, the shares are on the cusp of sustained and underappreciated top line reacceleration.

Intel (INTC): The chipmaker is upgraded to Buy from Hold at Auriga, which takes its price target to $24 from $20 on higher estimates and an expanded valuation. While significant headwinds remain, PCs could contribute strongly to semiconductor growth in 2010.

Autodesk (ADSK): Goldman gooses Autodesk, now Buy from Neutral.

Nordstrom (JWN): Morgan Stanley raises Nordstrom to Equal Weight from Underweight.

BHP Billiton (BHP): ING Group boosts mining giant BHP Billiton (Buy from Hold).

Barnes & Noble (BKS): Goldman Sachs pulls Barnes & Noble from its Conviction Sell list.

Energy Stocks: In energy, Sanford Bernstein gives Outperform-from-Market Perform boosts to Marathon Oil (MRO) ($35 target), Royal Dutch Shell (RDS), Hess (HES), and Chevron (CVX) ($88).

Panera Bread (PNRA): Barclays increases Panera Bread to Equal-Weight from Underweight with a new $69 target price.

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK): JP Morgan juices GlaxoSmthKline, now Neutral from Underweight.

Deutsche Bank (DB): Credit Suisse raises its Deutsche Bank recommendation to Outperform from Neutral.

REITs: REITs upgraded by Bank of America/Merrill Lynch include Essex Property (ESS) (Neutral from Underperform), Equity Residential (EQR) (Buy from Neutral), and Camden Property Trust (CPT) (Buy from Underperform). For a related story, see What to Expect From the Commercial Real Estate Crisis.

Kenneth Cole (KCP): The stock is increased to Buy from Neutral at B. Riley & Co.

Allstate (ALL): The insurance stock gets a Neutral-from-Underweight upgrade at JP Morgan.

Comcast (CMCSA): The stock is added to the Top Picks Live list at Citigroup. See also Comcast Profit Up but Its Customers Still Lose.

El Paso (EP): The stock gets upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform with Wells Fargo.

Retail: Target (TGT) and Dollar Tree (DLTR) are each taken to Buy from Neutral at UBS.

Philip Morris International (PM): The stock is now Buy from Neutral with a $54 target at UBS.

Boeing (BA): The stock gets a Neutral-from-Underperform boost by Cowen.

New York Times (NYT): After its recent sharp sell off, the New York Times is now Buy from Hold at Argus, which sees positive signs for circulation revenue and expects advertising to rise slightly this year.


Penn National Gaming (PENN): Goldman adds Penn National Gaming to its Conviction Sell list.

Cigna (CI): BMO Capital cuts Cigna to Market Perform from Outperform.

Oil Stocks: Bernstein lowers both ConocoPhillips (COP) ($54 price objective) and Total SA (TOT) ($59) to Market Perform from Outperform. For more on the sector, see Crude Oil Prices Dive After Week of Gains.

Lincoln National (LNC): Raymond James lowers Lincoln National to Market Perform from Outperform.

JC Penney (JCP): The retailer is now Equal Weight from Overweight at Morgan Stanley.

The Gap (GPS): Morgan Stanley also moves Gap to Underweight from Equal Weight.
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