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Upgrades & Downgrades: FedEx Will Deliver


Maybe the experts know something we don't know.

A year after the leprosy of Lehman and assorted other ominous anniversaries, stocks ended the week at 11-month highs. Market action was moving and anything but average as the S&P 500 rose 20% above its 200-day moving average for the first time in over a quarter century. Still, the era of free lunches (if not $63,500 dinners) appears over.

Austerity abounded, with Rolls Royce unveiling an economy car and General Electric (GE) hosting an analyst meeting in the spartan confines of upstate New York. With some saying the post-March march in equities looks a little long in the tooth, Japan's Nikkei is closed for Respect for the Aged Day. Bank of America (BAC) warms to the Holliday theme and David Letterman returns from a week's vacation to host the President, after a fashion.


Wal-Mart (WMT): Wal-Mart is assumed at Overweight ($61 price target) at HSBC, which sees growth in emerging markets. Also see Raging Bull on Wal-Mart.

Hewlett-Packard (HPQ): The computer maker is initiated with a Market Perform at JMP Securities, the broker believing its balance sheet is somewhat stretched.

Thomas & Betts (TNB): Bank of America/Merrill Lynch takes its bets on Thomas & Betts, reinstating the electrical products manufacturer with a Neutral rating and price objective of $33.


Campbell Soup (CPB): Salad days for Campbell Soup, upgraded to Buy from Hold with a $37 target at Argus following Friday's strong earnings announcement.

Monster Worldwide (MWW): Monster Worldwide, which may also benefit from a Barron's bounce, is boosted to Buy from Neutral at UBS.

Hotel Stocks: Room at the inn for Marriott (MAR) and Sunstone Hotel (SHO) at Wells Fargo, which upgrades each to Outperform from Market Perform.

Federal Express (FDX): FedEx is lifted to Buy from Hold at Argus, which establishes a $97 price objective. Lower labor and fuel costs, allied to market share gains, bode well for earnings.


Apple (AAPL): The worm's turned at Apple, now a Neutral (from Buy) at FTN Equity.

Genzyme (GENZ): Genzyme gets downgraded (Perform from Outperform) at Oppenheimer, which says the Street isn't adequately accounting for erosion in Cerezyme.

Other Hotel Stocks: Heartbreak for Starwood (HOT) and Host Hotels (HST), lowered to Underperform from Market Perform at Wells Fargo.

Altria (MO): The company may lose some momentum after Credit Suisse cut it to Neutral from Outperform ($20 target) amid Marlboro concerns.
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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