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Upgrades & Downgrades: MGM Mirage In Play

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Maybe the experts know something we don't know.

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Investors feared a hangover after the recent run up in equities, especially since Anheuser-Busch InBev's CEO rang yesterday's opening bell, but they needn't have worried. Indeed it's as if last fall's fall never happened -- stocks again hit fresh highs for the year and the DJIA has now gained in eight of the past nine sessions.

From American Express (AXP) (up over 3%) to American Capital (ACAS) (almost 33% higher), stocks are flying high, a description some employees of American Airlines (AMR) almost took a little too literally. On the day an icon left us, some say the market has temporarily taken leave of its senses even if forecasts are always more Art than science. Analysts, on the money in accurately predicting Oracle's (ORCL) earnings (see An Oracle Pummeling Could Be Your Opportunity), will hope their Palm (PALM) reading proves similarly prophetic when that tech company reports results after the close. Also out are August housing starts, September's Philadelphia Fed Index and weekly jobless claims.

Initiations

Healthcare Companies: Goldman Sachs reinstates coverage of healthcare companies Express Scripts (ESRX) (Buy) and WellPoint (WLP) (Neutral).

Upgrades

Seaspan (SSW): A sea change for Seaspan, which gets a 180 degree Buy-from-Underperform upgrade at Bank of America/Merrill Lynch. The target is also increased ($14 from $6) due to containership carrier price increases and improved volumes at the port of LA.

Total SA (TOT): Credit Suisse lifts large cap oil company Total to Neutral from Underperform, citing improving growth and cash flow generation.

Viacom (VIA): Viacom is boosted to Buy from Neutral at UBS.

MGM Mirage (MGM): Argus upgrades MGM Mirage to Buy from Sell and establishes a price objective of $18 on balance sheet improvments and its Bellagio casino revamp.

Nucor (NUE): The stock begins a new day with a Buy-from-Hold upgrade at Citigroup due to relative underperformance and a fourth quarter return to profitability. The target is taken up $11 to $57.

Genworth Financial (GNW): Deutsche Bank increases insurance firm Genworth Financial to Buy from Hold and raises their share price objective to $18 from $7.

Downgrades

Goodrich (GR): Bad news for Goodrich as it's cut to Buy from Conviction Buy at Goldman.

Arcelor Mittal (MT): The steel giant is downgraded to Hold from Buy at Societe Generale.

Coal Stocks: Coal isn't king for a day as UBS lowers both Peabody Energy (BTU) and Patriot Coal (PCX) to Neutral from Buy after their recent run.

BorgWarner (BWA): KeyBanc cuts BorgWarner (Hold from Buy) on concerns its third quarter could be below consensus.
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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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