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Upgrades & Downgrades: Abercrombie Gets Cut

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Maybe the experts know something we don't know.

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Stocks snapped a four day skid, with the S&P 500 back up over 1000 and gold ending just under. The Gap (GPS) gaped up 7.57% as same store sales at its Old Navy unit rose for the first time since Methuselah was young. Ford (F) gained 6.40% on a credit rating upgrade at Moody's, whose own mood was scarcely improved by a 7.05% share price slide after an adverse judicial ruling. Rupert Murdoch put a Fox (NWS) in the hen house and soccer's Homeless World Cup begins in Italy. A worthy event, whose participant list may alas soon swell if an ominous article in today's Journal about the increasing woes of people with "prime" mortgages is any indication.

Ahead of Labor Day we get a key read on the labor market in the form of August employment at 8:30AM Eastern. As it's the month's most important report, trading today may buck the dishwater-dull pre-holiday norm. Analyst action is, however, inevitably light this this morning.

Initiations

Cardiovascular Systems (CSII): Robert Baird assumes coverage of Cardiovascular Systems (Neutral; $8 price objective) as growth in the atherectomy market is seen as slow.

Thoratec (THOR): Baird also initiates Thoratec with a Neutral and $28 target. It cites price among other factors.

Encore Capital (ECPG): SunTrust starts Encore Capital with a Buy and a $19 target on stabilizing cash collection trends.

Liberty Global (LBTYB): Credit Suisse picks up Liberty Global with an Outperform and $26 target.

Upgrades

Whitney Holding (WTNY): In the week Whitney Houston is out with a new album, Whitney Holding is upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Suntrust Robinson Humphrey, with a $14.50 price objective.

Movado Group (MOV): Morgan Joseph has time for Movado Group, boosting the watchmaker to Buy from Hold ($16 price objective) after an impressive first half.

Gafisa SA (GFA): Another Morgan -- Stanley -- raises its rating on Brazilian homebuilder Gafisa SA to Overweight at Morgan Stanley.

Canon (CAJ): The stock could thunder today after a 180 degree (Outperform from Underperform) upgrade at Macquarie.

Downgrades

Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF): Apparel retailer Abercrombie & Fitch is lowered to Sell from Hold at Citigroup, which takes its target to $24 from $33. Watch Jeff Macke's video, Rating the Retailers for more, or read today's Ticker Shock.

Zumiez (ZUMZ): At the other end of the alphabet, Zumiez gets cut to Hold at KeyBanc Capital due to valuation.
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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