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Upgrades & Downgrades: Room for Two Views in Marriott


Maybe the experts know something we don't know.

The S&P 500 is on its strongest streak in a month, with upbeat economic and earnings updates sending the index higher for a fourth successive session. Gold was good for another record though it was a different story for the dollar -- deer mating season is almost upon us but investors aren't lusting after bucks as the greenback declined to its lowest level since August of '08 against a basket of major currencies. And Mr. Madoff may get a cellmate after a verdict which should Brooke no argument.

Strong September same-store sales had investors walking over hot Kohl's (KSS) (+2.44%) and Hot Topic (HOTT) (5.71%) as retailers rebounded. Liz Taylor remains in the hospital but life is more hospitable for Estée Lauder (EL) spokeswoman Liz Hurley after its 2.52% gain and Liz Claiborne (LIZ) soared 30.96% on entering a long-term licensing agreement with J.C. Penney (JCP). For more on same-store sales, see Retail Still Trying to Rebound. The penny dropped for Banco Santader Brasil, down another cent in the wake of Wednesday's inauspicious IPO, while Barnes & Noble (BKS) slid 11.55% following foreboding forecasts. In other Nobel news, after a week of coping with an empty handed return from Copenhagen another Scandinavian stunner brought better tidings out of Oslo for Obama. August international trade is announced at 8:30 AM Eastern, expect earnings out of Infosys (INFY) and the ship sails for bonds at 2:00 PM in an early close ahead of Columbus Day.


Cree (CREE): JP Morgan sees a bright future for Cree, initiating at an Overweight and setting a $45 price target on strong LED industry demand trends.

Juniper Networks (JNPR): The stock is begun with a Hold rating and $26 target at Auriga due to impressive potential top-line growth.

Pharmaceuticals: Wells Fargo initiates Bristol-Myers (BMY) (Outperform) and Eli Lilly (LLY) (Market Perform).


Marriott International (MAR): The hotel stock gets an 180 degree (Buy from Underperform) upgrade at Bank of America/Merrill Lynch, which takes up its target $10 to $31.

Novartis (NVS): The stock is upgraded to Outperform from Neutral at Cowen.

Nu Skin (NUS): Personal care product maker Nu Skin is boosted to Buy from Hold at Jefferies & Co.

LSI Corporation (LSI): Barclays Capital raises LSI to Equal Weight from Underweight.

Lam Research (LRCX): Credit Suisse takes Lam Research to Outperform from Neutral.

Viacom (VIA): Piper Jaffray upgrades Viacom to Overweight from Neutral. Read about the company's latest dealings with Google (GOOG) in Why Google's $1 Billion Premium for YouTube Was Worth It.

Spectra Energy (SE): The company is increased to Conviction Buy from Neutral at Goldman Sachs.

Research in Motion (RIMM): Robert Baird raises its Research in Motion rating to Outperform from Neutral as it sees the recent share price decline as a buying opportunity.

Deutsche Bank (DB): Credit Suisse boosts Deutsche Bank (Neutral from Underperform).


Marriott: The previously mentioned stock is reduced to Sell from Hold at Soleil, with a $28 target price, as the broker awaits real RevPAR recovery. The hotel stock is also nixed to Negative from Neutral at Susquehanna Financial.

Bristol-Myers Squibb: A damp squib for Bristol-Myers Squibb as Cowen cuts it to Neutral from Outperform.

Zimmer (ZMH): Citigroup downgrades Zimmer to Hold from Buy even as it increases the price objective to $56 from $52 on a lower orthopedic outlook, especially in Europe.

Starwood Hotels (HOT): The company may be less hot after a Buy-from-Hold downgrade by Soleil, which sets a $35 target.

Limited Brands (LTD): Soleil also cuts Limited (Sell from Hold), while taking the target to $15.50 from $13.

Aeropostale (ARO): Goldman cut the retailer to Sell from Neutral.

El Paso (EP): Goldman also slashed El Paso to Neutral from Buy.
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