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Upgrades & Downgrades: Taking a Shine to Gold

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Maybe the experts know something we don't know.

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Stocks gained again with the Dow now on a winning streak of eight straight, its best run since April of '08. The 'e' in Dell's (DELL) logo, eerily echoing Enron's, apparently stands for early as the tech titan released results a few minutes ahead of schedule. Its earnings of 24 cents, though down 23%, beat the Street and were good for a 6.7% share price pop. Aerospace took off with Boeing (BA) going up over 8%. Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke became identity-theft's latest victim but AIG's (AIG) vacationing Benmosche was a happier camper. Shares in his company, the subject of a head-scratching article in today's Times, surged another 27%. For more on AIG, see Two Ways: Signs of Strength in AIG.

Tiffany (TIF) is out with sparkling earnings and we get July personal income and spending at 8:30 AM Eastern. Goldman research is under investigation but as August's unlikeliest interview illustrates, on Wall Street time heals almost everything.

Initiations

Compass Minerals (CMP): The stock finds its way onto the coverage list at BMO Capital, which initiates with an Outperform and $65 price target on impressive contract allotments and expanded mine capacity.

Gold Stocks: Jefferies takes a shine to gold stocks Agnico Eagle (AEM) and Newmont Mining (NEM), establishing Buys on each and respective price objectives of $70 and $52. The broker is bullish on bullion, believing macro and micro factors will propel the metal higher in the upcoming 12-18 months.

Zoltek (ZOLT): Carbon fiber company Zoltek is picked up at Deutsche Securities with a Hold and $8 target. Wind power potential is offset by near-term concerns over inventories.

Upgrades

Pacific Sunwear (PSUN): The future looks bright for Pacific Sunwear after Pali Research raised its rating to Buy from Neutral and established a price objective of $5.50. Reasons to be cheerful include a new CEO and a solid risk/reward scenario.

Sanofi-Aventis (SNY): French pharma firm Sanofi-Aventis is upgraded at JP Morgan.

J. Crew (JCG): Apparel outfit J. Crew is boosted to Hold from Underperform by Needham after its better than expected second quarter.

Downgrades

Cedar Fair (FUN): Not a fun Friday for Cedar Fair following a downgrade (Hold from Buy) from KeyBanc Capital due to softer than anticipated operating trends and limited cost cutting opportunities.

Fertilizer Stocks: UBS expects fertilizer stocks to grow-slow, cutting Mosaic (MOS) and Potash (POT) to Neutral from Buy.

Bristol-Myers (BMY): It's been a rough summer for Bristol's. After the travails of Alaska's former first daughter, drug maker Bristol-Myers is lowered to Equal Weight from Overweight at Morgan Stanley.
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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