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Upgrades & Downgrades: Is Amazon a Money Tree?


Maybe the experts know something we don't know.

Investors are hoping the Super Bowl Indicator proves more profitable than bellying up to the January Barometer after experiencing four straight weeks of stock drops. European debt fears fanned the flames and a surprising increase in unemployment hit closer to home. January Jones was up for a Golden Globe last month but the January jobless report went down like a lead balloon, and if there are eight million stories in the naked city it's only because 8.4 million can't afford clothes after a benchmark revision pushed the recession's victims to that lamentable level.

Dear John is the nation's new number one movie and John Thain was just named to the seat of power at CIT Group (CIT). While the chair(man) is a change, hopefully his office will stay the same with memories of that Merrill remodeling still raw. As a noted apiary expert, last week's news that bees -- worker ones or otherwise -- never forget a face won't be welcomed. No major macro data out today and peak earnings period has passed. Still, over sixty S&P 500 components will report results this week and today's announcements include Apollo Investment (APOL), (BIDU), Camden Property (CPT), CNA Financial (CNA), CVS Caremark (CVS), Electronic Arts (ARTS), Evergreen Solar (ESLR), Hasbro (HAS), Loews (L), Lorillard (LO), Nasdaq OMX (NDAQ), Sirona Dental (SIRO), Veeco Instruments (VECO), and W.R. Berkley (WRB).


Broadcom (BRCM): Citigroup starts Broadcom at a Buy.

Lululemon Athletica (LULU): The retailer is initiated at Market Perform ($28 target) by BMO Capital.

Miscellaneous: Goldman Sachs assigns new Neutrals on Moody's (MCO), McGraw-Hill (MHP), and Wright Express (WXS). It also rates Alliance Data Systems (ADS) a Buy.

Upgrades (AMZN): The online retailer is upgraded to Buy from Hold with a $150 target price at Collins Stewart. The current share price is an attractive entry point after falling 15% from its recent peak and the broker believes the Kindle ecosystem is much bigger than what the company and the Street previously thought. See also Amazon Ignores Lessons in Piracy from Online Music.

Disney (DIS): The stock is upgraded to Neutral from Underweight at JP Morgan, which cites an "improving macroeconomic outlook". For related content, see Six Reasons Disney Could Be a Fun Ride.

Home Depot (HD): The home improvement retailer is hoisted to Overweight from Equal-Weight with a $35 target at Morgan Stanley, which believes the turn in housing is real.

Nordstrom (JWN): BMO Capital boosts Nordstrom (Market Perform from Underperform). (PCLN): Susquehanna upgrades, now Positive from Neutral.

Exxon Mobil (XOM): Collins Stewart increases Exxon Mobil to Buy from Hold with an $80 price objective, believing the oil giant's risk-reward balance is the most compelling since its $41 billion acquisition of natural-gas producer XTO Energy (XTO) was announced.

Harry Winston Diamond (HWD): A week which will end with plenty of proposals starts with Harry Winston Diamond getting a Buy-from-Neutral boost at UBS.

Torchmark (TMK): JP Morgan takes Torchmark to Overweight from Neutral.

Weyerhaeuser (WY): Credit Suisse raises its Weyerhaeuser rating to Neutral from Underperform.

Autozone (AZO): Citigroup upgrades AutoZone (Buy from Hold) and takes its target up to $188 from $176.

CME Group (CME): Jefferies lifts CME Group to Buy from Hold ($330 target), reflecting improving trends in its core business and the potential for increased growth in the year's second half as the interest rate complex gains momentum.

Winnebago Industries (WGO): The stock gets a valuation-based Neutral from Underperform boost by Robert Baird.

Newell Rubbermaid (NWL): Morgan Stanley moves Newell Rubbermaid to Overweight from Equal Weight.

Southern Copper (PCU): The stock gets a 180 degree (Outperform from Underperform) upgrade at Credit Suisse. For an alternate view, see Why Copper is Crashing.

Genzyme (GENZ): Genzyme gets removed from the Conviction Sell List at Goldman.

Aetna (AET): Collins Stewart upgrades Aetna to Hold from Sell after earnings and amid signs of stabilization.


Airgas (ARG): Robert Baird lowers Airgas, now Neutral from Outperform after Air Products' (APD) formal offer to acquire the company for $60 per share in cash.

K12, Inc (LRN): Credit Suisse cuts K12, Inc to Neutral from Outperform.

Dun & Bradstreet (DNB): JP Morgan downgrades Dun & Bradstreet to Neutral from Overweight and takes its target down by $7 to $80.

St. Jude Medical (STJ): Say a prayer for St. Jude Medical, added to the Conviction Sell list at Goldman Sachs.

Petrohawk Energy (HK): The stock is now Market Perform from Outperform at Sanford Bernstein.

Biomarin Pharmaceutical (BMRN): Biomarin is downgraded to Hold from Buy by Brean Murray, with the broker questioning the timing of it acquisition of LEAD Pharmaceuticals.
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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