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Upgrades & Downgrades: Taking a Gamble on Procter


Maybe the experts know something we don't know.

Stocks slipped, sending the Dow down after three days of gains, though compared with its 449.36 swoon on September 17th, 2008, yesterday's 7.79 point decline was positively puny. Airline stocks again touched the sky and apparel essentials outfit Hanesbrands (HBI) soared 7.5%; apparently the underwear index has legs.

Warner Music (WMG) gained almost 5%, BorgWarner (BWA) fell over 5% and Palm (PALM) warned its current quarter will be weaker than expected (seems guiding light is all the rage today). Four what it's worth, Palm's fiscal first quarter profit loss nearly quadrupled and today is quadruple witching -- after which a new tenant will spend the weekend at Bernie's.


McAfee (MFE): The stock is initiated by William Blair with an Outperform on a favorable view of its Secure Computing acquisition.

Crown Castle (CCI): Oppenheimer assumes coverage of Crown Castle International (Outperform; $35 price target) as it sees strong revenue growth over the next three years.


Procter & Gamble (PG): PG gets upgraded at Citigroup (Buy from Hold), which takes its target to $66 from $54 on a belief the household products titan will target market share more aggressively. See Mike Shedlock's Procter & Gamble Hoping Tide Will Turn for more.

Boyd Gaming (BYD): Boyd Gaming is buoyed by a 180 degree (Buy from Sell) boost at Argus, which establishes a price objective of $18. The broker believes Boyd will benefit from stronger results at both the Blue Chip and in Atlantic City.

Daimler (DAI): The car manufacturer could be in the driver's seat after Bernstein raised its rating (Outperform from Market Perform) after this week's upbeat comments from Frankfurt.

Chevron (CVX): Credit Suisse is upgrading oil giant Chevron to Outperform from Neutral and is increasing its target $10 to $80.

Starbucks (SBUX): Shares of Starbucks could get a jolt after an Overweight-from-Neutral upgrade at Piper Jaffray, which sees the stock potentially reaching $24 (up from $13).

Housing Stocks: JP Morgan has turned more constructive on housing stocks Toll Brothers (TOL) and KB Homes (KBH) (both now Overweight from Neutral).


Charles Schwab (SCHW): Goldman advises against talking to Chuck today, downgrading Charles Schwab to Sell from Neutral.

Health Care: Managed care companies UnitedHealth (UNH) and Coventry Health Care (CVH) are each lowered to Hold from Buy at Citigroup.

Sonic Corp. (SONC): Sonic Corp. is cut to Underweight from Neutral by Piper Jaffray.
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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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