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Upgrades & Downgrades: Baidu Cleans Up Google's Broken China


Maybe the experts know something we don't know.


Stocks slumped, sending the Dow down for the first time in five sessions as the Nasdaq posted its worst daily decline since November 27th. Alcoa (AA) ended off 11.06% after ushering in earnings season with a whimper. Alumina (AWC) endured a torrid time but llumina (ILMN), up 15.82% after raising revenue guidance, proved far more profitable. Tiffany (TIF) shares slipped slightly even as it announced impressive holiday sales, doubtless due to repeat business from a latter day Liz Taylor.

Our headline stock, American Express (AXP), advanced 1.37% on an otherwise down day, this after increasing 118.4% last year to top the Dow in '09. Clearly the company (if not its cardholders) is in the lap of luxury. The Fed releases its beige-book survey of regional economic conditions at 2:00PM Eastern and Sealy reports results after the close on a sleepy day in corporate earnings.


Walt Disney (DIS): The company is started at Hold by Soleil Securities.

Miscellaneous: Morgan Stanley's been busy, its initiations including Computer Sciences (CSC) and Global Payments (GPN) at Equal Weights, Paychex (PAYX) and Automatic Data Processing (ADP) at Underweights, and Western Union (WU), MasterCard (MA), and Visa (V) with Overweights. Separately, it starts Heinz (HNZ) and Accenture (ACN) at Overweight.

Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (GMRC): Roth picks up Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (Buy; $110 price objective), saying its single-cup brewing system is a disruptive design likely to achieve broad consumer acceptance.

REITs: Jefferies assumes coverage on assorted Healthcare REITs including Healthcare Realty Trust (HR) (Buy) and has holds on HCP Inc (HCP), Ventas (VTR), and Senior Housing Properties Trust (SNH).


Baidu (BIDU): Deutsche Bank boosts Baidu to Buy from Hold ($408 target), as the search engine stands to benefit from rival Google's (GOOG) China woes. See also Two Ways to Play: Google May Get Out of China.

Merck (MRK): The pharmaceutical stock is moved to Outperform from Neutral at Credit Suisse, which takes its target up $12 to $47. For more, read Putting the Spotlight on High Drug Prices.

AstraZeneca (AZN): The stock is now Neutral from Underperform at Credit Suisse on a favorable valuation.

United Parcel Service (UPS): RBC Capital upgrades UPS to Outperform from Sector Perform, its price objective also increasing $12 to $72.

Joy Global (JOYG): The stock's shares are up ahead of the open after UBS put a smile on its face with a Buy-from-Neutral boost.

Internet Security: With cyber security suddenly all the rage, Wells Fargo upgrades Symantec (SYMC) and Websense (WBSN), each to Outperform from Market Perform.

Infosys (INFY): HSBC upgrades Infosys to Overweight from Neutral.

BHP Billiton (BHP): Canaccord raises its BHP Billiton rating to Buy from Hold, saying the company should emerge from the downturn with better operating margins.

Rio Tinto (RTP): The stock is also increased to Buy from Hold by the same broker on an abundance of positive news around iron ore price negotiations.

Raymond James (RJF): Keefe, Bruyette ups Raymond James Financial to Market Perform from Underperform based on higher revenue and lower loan loss provisioning.

MetroPCS (PCS): Deutsche Bank boosts MetroPCS to Hold from Sell following yesterday's analyst meeting.

Massey Energy (MEE): Bank of America/Merrill Lynch lifts Massey Energy to Buy from Neutral.


Royal Dutch Shell (RDS-B): The stock gets shifted to Underweight from Equal Weight at Morgan Stanley, mainly on a more subdued macro outlook.

Kennametal (KMT): KeyBanc cuts Kennametal to Hold from Buy as the shares are priced for perfection.

Affymetrix (AFFX): Barclays downgrades Affymetrix (Underweight from Equal-weight) and takes its target to $3 from $6.

Daimler AG (DAI): The stock is downgraded to Neutral from Outperform at Exane BNP Paribas.

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK): GSK gets an Underperform-from Outperform cut at Credit Suisse.

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