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Upgrades & Downgrades: Time Running Out for AOL?

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Maybe the experts know something we don't know.

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Thanksgiving week is invariably impressive for equities but stocks slipped slightly yesterday. Homes (the Case-Shiller real estate index came in higher for a fourth straight month) and Watson (WPI) (Pharmaceuticals, up 4.22% in its best day since June) will find this mysterious but the Dow did shrug off a triple digit loss with help from the Fed's Minutemen. Footwear firm Genesco (GCO) slid 7.57% though those waiting for the other shoe to drop were disappointed as rival DSW Inc (DSW) jumped up 10.56%. American Eagle (AEO) advanced 3.23% on strong earnings. See also Why Are Investors Helping American Eagle Soar? And if our insatiable appetite for fame is any indication that new billboard will help to pay the bills for years to come. And it's another day, another new nominal record for gold -- twin this with Donny Osmond being back on the airwaves and the Carter era is back with a vengeance.

A jam packed data day in economics kicked off at 8:30 AM Eastern with initial weekly unemployment claims (466,000) coming in below 500,000 for the first time in over a year. October durable goods (-0.6% in a surprise), personal income (+0.2%), and consumer spending (+0.7%) are all also out. The final reading on November consumer sentiment is released at 9:55 AM and October new home sales follow five minutes later. With apologies to Julie Andrews this morning's earnings weren't The Sound of Music to "Deere (DE), a dough" losing company last quarter. See also Two Ways to Play: Deere Plows Through Fourth-Quarter Expectations. But Tiffany (TIF), upgraded yesterday, is soaring before the bell after it beat the Street and Porsche also posted results. For more, see Tiffany's Shine Is Tarnished, But Only Temporarily.

Initiations

Time Warner (TWX): Time Warner is initiated at Sector Perform by RBC Capital Markets with a target price of $27, due to its heavy reliance on deteriorating search and display allied to post AOL spin-off valuation challenges.

Barclay's (BCS): Sanford Bernstein begins Barclays at a Market Perform.

Thomson Reuters (TRI): Barclays itself initiates Thomson Reuters at Equal-weight and sets a $36.50 price target.

JDS Uniphase (JDSU): Citigroup initiates JDS Uniphase with a Buy.

British Sky Broadcasting (BSY): The stock is assumed at Equal-weight by Barclays.

Health Care: Wells Fargo starts several healthcare related stocks including Intuitive Surgical (ISRG), Varian Medical (VAR) (Market Performs), American Medical Systems (AMMD) and Hologic (HOLX) (Outperforms on each).

FARO Technologies (FARO): Thomas Weisel picks up coverage of FARO Technologies at Overweight and establishes a price objective of $24.

DragonWave (DRWI): The stock gets an Overweight initiation at Piper Jaffray; $12 target.

Coinstar (CSTR): The stock is iniated at Outperform ($35 target) with Wedbush Morgan, which says its Redbox DVD kiosks should propel future growth.

Upgrades

Vistaprint (VPRT): The stock is up in the premarket after a Buy-from-Hold boost by Citigroup, which says the company is a core Internet holding.

Hospitality Properties Trust (HPT): HPT is upgraded to Buy from Hold at Stifel Nicolaus on a more compelling valuation.

Downgrades

NRG Energy (NRG): UBS downgrades NRG Energy to Neutral from Buy and takes its target to $26 from $33.

Lukoil: The stock is lowered to Hold from Buy by Citigroup.

Micron Technologies (MU): The tech company is removed from the Short-term Buy List at UBS. See also Micron Will Ride the Wave Into 2010.
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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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