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Upgrades & Downgrades: Chip Off of H&R Block


Maybe the experts know something we don't know.

Stocks posted their first weekly decline since early October with unhappy anniversaries all around us; Monday marked twenty-two years since one serious slump day and the Great Depression was unofficially ushered in 80 years ago this Hump Day. Dark pools are under investigation, a noteworthy investor was discovered at the bottom of one, and Whirlpool (WHR) finished up 4.88% on Friday even as an appliance at its Maytag division gave out after over half a century.

Those claiming the rally still has legs will be heartened with the way Legg Mason (LM) (+3.87%) and Leggett & Platt (LEG) (+7.06%) ended the week, though the mixed messages out of Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG) (-8.01%) and Mexican Restaurants (CASA) (+15.81%) provide plenty of food for thought. Foreigners rang the opening bell in a week when the dollar declined to fresh 14-month lows and the Bucs lost in far foreign fields. It's all quiet on the western front in economics but expect earnings out of Baidu (BIDU), Corning (GLW) (see also Corning, Like Economy, Is Clawing Its Way Back), Flextronics (FLEX), McGraw-Hill (MHP), National Oilwell Varco (NOV), RadioShack (RSH), and (SOHU) with 40% of the S&P 500 having reported results as of Friday.


: Credit Suisse initiates Urban Outfitters (URBN) and Aeropostale (ARO) with Neutrals. Read more about the fashion word in our Fashion's Dirty Laundry package.

KB Home (KBH): is begun with a Hold and $17 price objective at Deutsche Bank, though the shares are well positioned to benefit from an economic upturn.

Energy: Rio Tinto (RTP) and BHP Billiton (BHP) are each initiated at Neutral by HSBC.


Microsoft (MSFT): The tech giant is moved to Buy from Hold at Canaccord Adams. For insight on the new OS, see Why Microsoft's Windows 7 Won't Be Any Better than Vista.

Garmin (GRMN): Navigation play Garmin finds itself removed from the Conviction Sell list at Goldman Sachs.

Marinemax (HZO): (Rochdale raises Marinemax (Buy from Hold) and takes its price target to $10 from $7.

T. Rowe Price (TROW): The stock is raised to Neutral from Sell at Pali Research.

Union Bankshares (UBSH): Keefe Bruyette increases Union Bankshares to Outperform from Market Perform, maintaining its $16 target, after its third quarter earnings beat.

American Express (AXP): The credit card company is upgraded to Buy from Hold at Stifel ($50 target), which says it is best positioned for the "new normal".

Under Armour (UA): The stock could be above water after a Neutral-from-Negative boost by Susquehanna.


J. Crew (JCG): Michelle Obama's favorite retailer J. Crew is cut to Hold from Buy at Brean Murray, the broker believing investors should take profits.

H&R Block (HRB): Morgan Stanley clips H&R Block to Underweight from Equal Weight.

Pitney Bowes (PBI): The stock gets lowered to Sell from Neutral at Goldman.

Buckeye Partners (BPL): A black eye for Buckeye Partners, downgraded to Hold from Buy at Wunderlich which sees better total return prospects elsewhere in the sector.

Regional Banks: Rochdale downgrades US Bancorp (USB) (Neutral from Buy), Fifth Third Bancorp (FITB) and SunTrust (STI) (both now Sells from Neutral).

Lukoil: JP Morgan downgrades Lukoil to Neutral from Overweight.
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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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