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Upgrades & Downgrades: Dialing Up Motorola

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Maybe the experts know something we don't know.

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Stocks slumped in the final hour of trading, gains gone in 60 minutes after an intraday downgrade by respected Rochdale researcher Dick Bove (rhymes with pay, which is also under attack) of Wells Fargo (WFC) to Sell, a four letter word once rarely uttered by Wall Street equity analysts. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, no stranger to profanity, was properly polite in revealing to Reuters TARP's days are numbered. Weakness was felt from the attic -- eBay (EBAY) off over 5% in extended trading after earnings -- to the Basement -- Filene's former owner Retail Ventures (RVI) sliding 6.17%. The dollar's doldrums continued but Tupperware (TUP) bucked the trend and was evidently unable to contain itself after increasing over 8%. Clearly there's still profit in plastics, as an iconic movie starring Mrs. Robinson once advised us. Although CH Robinson (CHRW), apparently unrelated, fell 4.47% after reporting a revenue reverse.

Microsoft (MSFT) bids hasta la Vista this morning and welcomes Windows 7. Those with yearnings for earnings are in their element today as American Express (AXP), Amazon.com (AMZN), AT&T (T), Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY), Dow Chemical (DOW), EMC Corp. (EMC), Hershey (HSY), Merck (MRK), McDonald's (MCD), 3M (MMM), Schering-Plough (SGP), and United Parcel Service (UPS) all announce. Initial unemployment claims are released at 8:30 AM Eastern, with September leading economic indicators out an hour and a half after.

Initiations

Fertilizer Stocks: Credit Suisse assumes coverage of the North American fertilizer sector with a Market Weight, its initiations including Agrium (AGU) (Outperform), Mosaic (MOS), Potash (POT) (both Neutral) and Intrepid Potash (IPI) (Underperform).

Dice Holdings (DHX): Credit Suisse upgrades Dice Holdings to Neutral from Underperform, taking its price target to $8 from $3, after above consensus earnings.

Tenet Healthcare (THC): Pali Research begins Tenet Healthcare with a Buy and establishes an $8.25 price objective.

J. Crew (JCG): Jesup & Lamont tries J. Crew on for size, initiating with a Buy ($45 target), clean inventory leading to improved performance.

Upgrades

Motorola (MOT): The mobile device maker is moved to Overweight from Market Weight by Thomas Weisel as upcoming Android-based smartphone products should prove catalytic. The target price increases to $11 from $7. For more on this sector, see Nokia Trying to Emerge from the Dust.

F5 Networks (FFIV): High fives for F5 Networks, upgraded at Canaccord Adams (Buy from Hold).

Nabors Industries (NBR): Jesup & Lamont raises Nabors Industries to Hold from Sell after its third quarter earnings.

QLogic (QLGC): The stock is increased to Buy from Hold with a $22 target at Needham, which sees seeing signs of stabilization and recovery at the tech firm's main OEM clients.

AirTran Holdings (AAI): Avondale Partners lifts AirTran Holdings to Outperform in light of its "impressive" year-to-date results.

Harvest Energy Trust (HTE): Fall could see a rise for Harvest Energy Trust, boosted by both UBS (Buy from Neutral) and RBC Capital (Sector Perform from Underperform).

Omnicom (OMC): The stock is upgraded to Buy at Argus, with an objective of $45, as business looks to have bottomed in the second quarter.

Freeport McMoRan (FCX): Deutsche Bank raises its Freeport-McMoRan rating to Buy from Hold, taking its target to $100 from $72, following two consecutive quarters of upside earnings surprises.

Downgrades

SAP AG (SAP): SAP is cut to Neutral from Buy at Bank of America/Merrill Lynch as the cost cutting story is now more fully understood.

FLIR Systems (FLIR): The stock gets lowered to Hold from Buy at Morgan Joseph due to valuation as potential growth is already accounted for at these levels.

Tractor Supply (TSCO): No fun on the farm as Tractor Supply is taken to Underweight from Neutral by Piper Jaffray.

Shipping Companies: Tanking plays may tank today after Cantor Fitzgerald cut both Tsakos Energy (TNP) (Hold from Buy) and Overseas Shipholding (OSG) (Sell from Hold).

Ameren (AEE): The stock is downgraded to Underweight from Neutral at JP Morgan.

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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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