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Upgrades & Downgrades: Good Credit at MasterCard

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Maybe the experts know something we don't know.

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An uptick in merger activity saw stocks snap a three day skid to post their biggest gains since the end of August, albeit on anemic volume. Investors enjoyed the view atop both Gander Mountain Company (GMTN) (+33.51%) and Green Mountain Coffee (GMCR) (+6.34) as Obama announced a trip to move Mount Olympus closer to Chicago. Holders of Cal-Maine Foods (CALM) successfully appealed for calm after an 8% pre-market plunge on earnings. Shares in the supplier of eggs recovered sharply though still ended in the red -- a cautionary reminder never to put them all in one basket, even if they're chocolate.

The singer who implored Americans to "Get a Job" passed away within hours of The Conference Board announcing online employment openings slipped again in September. The same organization is out with monthly consumer confidence this morning at 10:00 AM Eastern on a hectic day which also includes Case-Shiller housing data and quarterly results from Nike (NKE), Walgreen (WAG), Darden Restaurants (DRE) and Micron Technology (MU).

Initiations

Beverage Stocks: Citigroup assumes coverage of Coca-Cola (KO) and Dr Pepper Snapple (DPS) with Buys on both. We recently covered Coca-Cola in The World's Best Brands.

Diedrich Coffee (DDRX): This stock could also perk up after being initiated at Buy ($35 price target) by Roth, as the broker believes single-cup brewers have clear appeal.

MasterCard (MA): MasterCard is picked up with a Positive at Susquehanna Financial.

Upgrades

ConocoPhillips (COP): The oil giant is upgraded to Buy from Hold at Collins Stewart, the broker establishing an objective of $60.

Broadcom (BRCM): Broad smiles at Broadcom after an Overweight from Equal-weight upgrade by Barclays, which takes its target to $35 from $30.

Polo Ralph Lauren (RL): Goldman Sachs dresses up Polo Ralph Lauren in a Buy (from Neutral).

Phillips-Van Heusen (PVH): The apparel company gets a snappy new look too, boosted by Bank of America/Merrill Lynch to Buy from Neutral.

Athenahealth (ATHN): The stock is increased to Outperform from Neutral by Robert Baird, which raises the price objective to $46 from $37 on its increased conviction in the company's long-term growth prospects.

Lamar Advertising (LAMR): Barclays Capital boosts both rating (Overweight from Equal-Weight) and target price ($35 from $22) on Lamar Advertising, citing cost containment and undervaluation.

Financials: A fun day for financials, with several upgrades including Astoria Financial (AF) (Overweight from Equal-Weight at Barclays), Jefferies Group (JEF) (Market Perform from Underperform at JMP Securities) and Huntington Bancshares (HBAN) (Outperform from Market Perform) by FBR Capital (FBCM).

Downgrades

AstraZeneca (AZN): The pharmaceutical company is cut to Sell from Hold at Collins Stewart.

Western Refining (WNR): Soleil Securities lowers Western Refining to Hold from Buy with an objective of $8.

Portland General Electric (POR): Goldman's downgrade of regulated utilities sees Portland General Electric taken to Neutral from Buy.

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No positions in stocks mentioned.
The information on this website solely reflects the analysis of or opinion about the performance of securities and financial markets by the writers whose articles appear on the site. The views expressed by the writers are not necessarily the views of Minyanville Media, Inc. or members of its management. Nothing contained on the website is intended to constitute a recommendation or advice addressed to an individual investor or category of investors to purchase, sell or hold any security, or to take any action with respect to the prospective movement of the securities markets or to solicit the purchase or sale of any security. Any investment decisions must be made by the reader either individually or in consultation with his or her investment professional. Minyanville writers and staff may trade or hold positions in securities that are discussed in articles appearing on the website. Writers of articles are required to disclose whether they have a position in any stock or fund discussed in an article, but are not permitted to disclose the size or direction of the position. Nothing on this website is intended to solicit business of any kind for a writer's business or fund. Minyanville management and staff as well as contributing writers will not respond to emails or other communications requesting investment advice.

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