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Upgrades & Downgrades: Abercrombie's In Fashion

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Maybe the experts know something we don't know.

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Stanley Works (SWK) but untold others don't. The toolmaker hit a 52-week high Friday after its Black & Decker (BDK) acquisition even as double digit unemployment threw a wrench into the recovery. Still stocks shrugged off only the second jump in the jobless rate to over 10 percent in sixty years, with Wall Street recording its first weekly gain in three. Gold gapped up to another new nominal record as it closed in on a ninth successive annual increase. The doctor made a House call on Saturday, our elected officials passing historic health legislation. A movie about an infamous tightwad took in $31 million as Carrey's Christmas Carol topped the weekend box office.

In the immortal words of noted Cold Warrior Sargent Pepper, "it was twenty years ago today" -- 9/11 in the day/month formulation Europe uses -- when the fall of a Wall marked the end of an era. A date to celebrate for sure, even if the eclipse of an Iron Curtain ushered in unintended consequences aplenty. Of course JFK, so the story goes, once compared himself to a sweet treat by the Berlin barricade. Hence he would likely have approved of today's just announced upping of the ante aimed at creating a candy combo. Its a dull data day in economics and expect earnings out of Electronic Arts (ERTS), Fluor (FLR), Liberty Media (LSTAV), Live Nation (LYV), MBIA Inc (MBI), McDermott International (MDR), Priceline (PCLN), Rockwell Automation (ROK), Sempra Energy (SRE), Tesoro (TSO), and Ticketmaster (TKTM). Hurricane Ida was downgraded to a Category one storm this morning. Speaking of...

Initiations

Veeco Instruments (VECO): Piper Jaffray initiates Veeco Instruments at Overweight.

Parker Hannifin (PH): The stock is picked up with an Equal Weight by Barclays.

Upgrades

Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF): Credit Suisse moves Abercrombie & Fitch to Outperform from Neutral and raises its target $49 from $30 based on improvement at Hollister. The stock is also increased at Goldman Sachs, to Conviction Buy from Neutral. Read more in Jeff Macke's Mulling the Market Reaction to Same-Store Sales.

Adobe Systems (ADBE): Goldman raises its Adobe Systems rating to Buy from Neutral

Salesforce.com (CRM): Goldman also increases Salesforce.com to Neutral from Sell.

RadioShack (RSH): Credit Suisse lifts RadioShack (Outperform from Neutral) on the iPhone addition and easing comps. The price objective is increased $7 to $25.

Blackstone Group (BX): Keefe Bruyette upgrades Blackstone Group ($18.50 target) to Outperform from Market Perform. See also Happy Days Again -- For Blackstone, Anyway.

Capstead Mortgage (CMO): Keefe Bruyette also increases CMO ($14) to Outperform from Market Perform.

Northrop Grumman (NOC): Jefferies gives a Buy-from-Hold boost to Northrop Grumman ($52.37) and takes its price target to $62 from $55.

Macquarie Infrastructure (MIC): Wells Fargo is upgrading Macquarie Infrastructure (Outperform from Market Perform).

Energizer (ENR): Energizer is increased to Overweight from Equal Weight at Morgan Stanley.

Pride International (PDE): Jesup and Lamont upgrades Pride International (Buy from Hold, objective of $42) as its restructuring is over.

Merck (MRK): The pharmaceutical company is lifted to Outperform at Leerink Swann.

AstraZeneca (AZN): This stock is upped to Buy from Hold at Royal Bank of Scotland, citing strong potential cash flow.

Downgrades

AstraZeneca: By contrast, AstraZeneca is lowered to Underweight from Neutral at JP Morgan, which expects three years of flat earnings.

The Gap (GPS): Barclays Capital downgrades Gap Inc. to Equal-Weight from Overweight on expected negative November same-store sales.

RedHat (RHT): The stock gets cut at Goldman (Neutral from Buy) due to valuation.

Intrepid Potash (IPI): RBC Capital reduces Intrepid Potash to Sector Perform from Outperform.

Research In Motion (RIMM): The tech giant gets downgraded to Neutral from Positive at Susquehanna Financial.

Lexmark (LXK): The stock is added to Goldman's Conviction Sell list.


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