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Upgrades & Downgrades: A Toast to Financials


Maybe the experts know something we don't know.

The S&P 500 posted its best third quarter performance since the breakup of The Beatles but fell for a second successive week after the unemployment rate rose to a level last seen in 1983. Stocks have now been in the red for seven of eight sessions, a scarlet tide even enveloping the Red Cross. 'Alphabet equities' BB&T Corp (BBT) (up 4.62% Friday on an upgrade), QLT Inc. (QLTI) (+8.83%) and CIT Group (CIT) (+11.32%) all ended the week in better shape than a Letterman, while worries raged that the recession begun under Dubya is about to endure a 'W' shaped recovery.

It was an ill wind for Chicago, the Second City finishing fourth in Olympic voting, and Montblanc marked Ghandi's birthday with a $25,000 pen. (More appropriate than one might imagine in a week which also witnessed The Twilight Zone's fiftieth birthday). September's ISM non-manufacturing index at 10:00 AM Eastern kicks off a quiet week in economics and a flood of earnings announcements will follow Mosaic's (MOS) first quarter results.


Wendy's (WEN): SunTrust Robinson Humphrey starts Wendy's with a Buy.

Arcelor Mittal (MT): HSBC initiates Arcelor Mittal with an Overweight and $46 price objective.

Sybase (SY): The mobile software company is initiated with a Buy and objective of $45 at Bank of America/Merrill Lynch on a belief that growth potential is not reflected in current valuation.

Conexant Systems (CNXT): Oppenheimer initiates Conexant Systems with an Outperform and $5 target amid recent design wins and increased traction.


Research In Motion (RIMM): The stock is boosted to Buy from Hold at Needham ($85 target price) as it regards the current pessimism as excessive.

ConocoPhillips (COP): The oil giant is upgraded to Buy from Hold at Deutsche Bank. See more insight on crude in What Iran Means for Oil.

Barclays (BCS): The stock gets a Neutral-from-Sell boost by UBS.

Financials: Wells Fargo (WFC) is raised to Buy from Neutral (target up $4 to $35) at Goldman Sachs, in a large cap bank boost which also sees increases for Capital One (COF) (Conviction Buy from Buy) and Comerica (CMA) (now a Neutral). For more on this, see Two Ways: Goldman Upgrades Large Banks.

General Dynamics (GD): Morgan Stanley lifts General Dynamics to Overweight from Equal-Weight and takes its target to $80 from $52.

PetSmart (PETM): Janney Montgomery Scott raises PetSmart to Buy from Neutral.

Accenture (ACN): The stock is upgraded to Buy from Hold at Argus with a $50 target.


Advanced Micro Devices (AMD): The tech company is reduced to Market Perform from Outperform by FBR Capital, which clips its target to $6 from $7 on increased risk over fourth quarter PC production.

Fifth Third Bancorp (FITB): The regional bank is cut to Buy from Conviction Buy at Goldman.

Marvell Technology (MRVL): FBR Capital removes Marvell Technology from its list of Top Picks.

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