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Upgrades & Downgrades: Nike Gets a Jump Start

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Maybe the experts know something we don't know.

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Hump Day saw shares stop two slump days, equities advancing for the first time all week after Ben Bernanke indicated American interest rates will lie low "for an extended period." This as Li-lo leaves us for England, hoping to raise rock bottom rates of interest in her career. Jennifer Love Hewitt, another actress adopting increasingly desperate measures to try and extend her fleeting fame beyond a fifteenth minute, may want to become the mouthpiece for Jackson Hewitt (JTX). The tax provider could certainly use some tough Love after sliding 3.67% on an otherwise up day, dragged down by H&R Block's (HRB) continuing travails.

It's as well the Fed head said something soothing, as a key housing metric plunged to its lowest level since records began at the start of the 60's. An unimaginably distant era when a young Democratic president newly occupied the most coveted House of all, a Castro controlled Cuba, and everyone aspired to be a Don Draper doppelganger. Toyota's (TM) chief was grilled on the Hill about the biggest auto firestorm since Firestone and Moody's took aim at moody Mediterraneans. Today sees Deckers Outdoor (DECK), Deutsche Telekom (DT), Dr Pepper Snapple (DPS), Fluor (FLR), Gap (GPS), Heinz (HNZ), Kohl's Corp (KSS), Mylan Labs (MYL), Newmont Mining (NEM), Safeway (SWY), Sempra (SRE), Southwestern Energy (SWN), Steven Madden (SHOO), and Wynn Resorts (WYNN) all report results.

Initiations

Yahoo (YHOO): MKM Partners picks up Yahoo at a Neutral, with a fair value estimate of $17. The broker would like to see a nascent turnaround gain more momentum before turning constructive on the shares.

Google (GOOG): The Internet giant also gets a Neutral ($570 fair value). While display and mobile represent significant long-term opportunities, the firm does not expect either to contribute meaningfully to 2010 P&L. See also, Google Investors, Be Careful What You Wish For.

Homebuilders: Ticonderoga kicks off coverage of KB Home (KBH) ($20 price target) and Lennar (LEN) ($21) with Buys on both while Meritage Homes (MTH) and Ryland Group (RYL) are each assigned Neutrals. For a related story see Real or Ridiculous? Housing Starts.

A123 Systems (AONE): The stock is begun at an Equal Weight by Barclays Capital, which assigns a price objective of $18.

Cloud Peak Energy (CLD): The energy stock gets a new Market Perform and $16 target by BMO Capital.

NetLogic (NETL): Saying shares are fully valued near an all-time high, Benchmark begins NetLogic at a Hold.

Tech Stocks: JP Morgan initiates Broadcom (BRCM) (Overweight, $38 target), LSI Corp. (LSI) (Neutral, $6.50 target), Nvidia (NVDA) (Neutral), and Marvell Technology (MRVL) (Overweight, $25 target).

FLIR Systems (FLIR): Goldman Sachs starts FLIR Systems at a Neutral.

Upgrades

Nike (NKE): The stock gets added to the Conviction Buy list at Goldman Sachs. See also Get an Extra Kick While Waiting for Nike's Earnings.

Clean Harbors (CLH): The stock hopes to clean up after being lifted to Buy from Neutral at Bank of America/Merrill Lynch.

Wipro (WIT): BNP Paribas boosts Indian outsourcing giant Wipro to Buy from Hold.

Raytheon (RTN): The stock is resumed with a Buy at C.K. Cooper, which sets a $66 target.

EnergySolutions (ES): ES is upgraded to Market Perform from Underperform ($7.50 target price) at FBR Capital, as concerns over fourth quarter results and 2010 earnings guidance have been put to rest.

Big Lots (BIG): The retailer is now Overweight from Neutral with a $38 price objective at JP Morgan.

CME Group (CME): The exchange stock is increased to Buy from Hold at Deutsche Bank, which takes its target up $5 to $325.

Solar Stocks: Deutsche Bank also gives Buy-from-Hold boosts to Yingli Green Energy (YGE), Trina Solar (TSL), Suntech Power (STP), and Renesola (SOL).

Downgrades

Palm (PALM): Morgan Stanley moves Palm to Equal-Weight from Overweight while maintaining its $14 target.

GameStop (GME): Piper Jaffray lowers GameStop to Neutral from Overweight, with its price objective cut to $16 from $24.

Thomson Reuters (TRI): Piper Jaffray takes Thomson Reuters to Underweight from Neutral and lowers its target to $31 from $33.

Psychiatric Solutions (PSYS): Piper also downgrades Psychiatric Solutions (Neutral from Overweight, target down $6 to $24).

Heineken: The brewer is crying into its beer after an Overweight from Neutral downgrade at JP Morgan, the broker being more bullish on rival brewers Anheuser-Busch InBev (BUD) and SABMiller (SAB).

Blockbuster (BBI): The video rental company is now Neutral from Sell at Janney Montgomery Scott. For a related story, see What Vudu Users Will Lose Under Walmart.

Fifth Third (FITB): The regional bank is at sixes and sevens after a Hold-from-Buy cut at Citigroup, which has a target of $13.

Trina Solar (TSL): Credit Suisse takes Trina Solar to Neutral from Outperform.

Fresenius Medical (FMS): The stock is now Neutral from Overweight at Piper Jaffray.

Unit Corp. (UNT): Pritchard moves Unit Corp to Neutral from Buy.

Tenaris (TS): The stock is tumbling ahead of the open after getting downgraded to Neutral at Goldman.

Northeast Utilities (NU): NU is now Neutral from Outperform at Macquarie.

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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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