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Upgrades & Downgrades: Harley Davidson in Hog Heaven


Maybe the experts know something we don't know.

Pardon my French, but it was a case of "Plus ça change" on Friday as America's unemployment rate rose to a level last seen in 1983, a distant era when Michael Jackson ruled the airwaves. Stocks naturally responded to such despondent news by... going up, though they still ended the week in the red.

Indeed mixed messages were everywhere; the Wall Street Journal reported home barbering is on the rise to clip costs even as a man with more heirs than hairs got a $21,000 trim. Credit crunches are clearly absent at Kraft (KFT), which yesterday bid $16.7 billion for Cadbury (CBY), maker of a chocolate called Crunchie. Smithfield Foods (SFD), the world's biggest pork processor, is out with earnings on the day Congress, which knows all about pork, returns from recess.


American Dental Partners (ADPI): Robert Baird asks American Dental Partners to open wide, initiating with an Outperform and $17 price objective. The broker believes net income growth could comfortably accelerate into the double-digits by next year.

Tupperware Brands (TUP): This stock, subject of a positive article in Barron's recently, is picked up at Bank of America/Merrill Lynch with a Buy.


Harley Davidson (HOG): Today is hog heaven; Harley Davidson gets a Hold-from-Sell upgrade at Citigroup on impressive channel checks. The target is increased to $26 from $14. See today's Ticker Shock for more.

General Electric (GE): JP Morgan upgrades General Electric (Overweight from Neutral) and raises its price objective to $17 from $12 as it views the stock as an out of consensus catch up story.

Costco (COST): Costco is boosted to Overweight from Equal Weight by Morgan Stanley.

Intercontinental Hotels (IHG): Credit Suisse is upgrading Intercontinental Hotels to Outperform from Neutral.

LM Ericsson (ERIC): Deutsche Bank raises its rating on Ericsson (Hold from Sell).


American International Group (AIG): The insurance company is cut to to Underperform from Neutral at Credit Suisse, which halves its share price target to $15 after an analysis of book value. See Why AIG will fall back to Earth for more on last week's action.

Tech Stocks: Morgan Stanley lowers IBM (IBM), Dell (DELL) and Texas Instruments (TXN) to Equal Weight from Overweight.
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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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