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Upgrades & Downgrades: BUD Needs a Friend


Maybe the experts know something we don't know.

The investment outlook is waxing at Madame Tussauds while waning everywhere else with stocks falling for a fourth day in five on weakness in financials and a jump in the dollar as Greenback and Greenberg contrive an coincidental comeback. Meryl Streep's daughter celebrates while Merrill Lynch's parent commiserates Bank of America (BAC) fell 5.06% for the Dow's biggest drag after Saturday's Journal article about the company's need to raise more capital. Alas newspapers are increasingly unopened, especially weekend ones, which may explain why yesterday's New York Times (NYT) (-6.15%) and Gannett (GCI) (-7.11%) were both black and blue and red all over. See also, Who Needs Newspapers Anyway? 012 Smile.Communications (SMLC) (+40.34%) tried to turn the market's frown upside down though there were long faces at La-Z-Boy (LZB) after losing 5.96%, even if shareholders should think twice before turning to drink.

Eighty years to the week after RCA became the wireless high wire act of the Wall Street Crash, RadioShack (RSH) did its best to redeem the medium, skyrocketing 16.16% on an improvement in margins, which made more sense than the increasingly inexplicable attempts of the north by Northwest (DAL) pilots to justify those 78 minutes of radio silence. At 9:00 AM Eastern August S&P Case/Schiller housing data will be hoped for along with an optimistic October Conference Board consumer confidence index an hour after. Expect earnings out of AK Steel (AKS), Bayer, BP plc (BP), Daimler (DAI), DreamWorks (DWA), E*Trade (ETFC), McKesson (MCK), Norfolk Southern (NSC), TD Ameritrade (AMTD), US Steel (X) and Visa (V). For more, see What to Expect from US Steel.


Intel (INTC): The chipmaker is assumed with a Buy and $25 target at Kaufman Brothers, which sees significant replacement cycle potential. Read more in A Caveat to Playing Intel.

Texas Instruments (TXN): Kaufman initiates Texas Instruments (Hold and $26 target).

CreXus Investment (CXS): Bank of America/Merrill Lynch initiates coverage on CreXus Investment with a Neutral rating and price objective of $14.50, saying "shares will likely remain in a tight range around book value". Deutsche Bank is more bullish on the name, beginning with a Buy.

Williams Companies (WMB): Wells Fargo reinstates Williams Companies with an Outperform.

Darden Restaurants (DRI): Deutsche Bank starts Darden Restaurants (Hold; $30 target).

Corinthian Colleges (COCO): Deutsche Bank initiates Corinthian Colleges with a Buy on its strong free cash flow. Kristin Graham gave some insight on this sector in Three Better Stock Picks than New Oriental Education.


Viacom (VIA): The media company is increased to Buy from Neutral at Pali Capital.

Cablevision (CVC): Wells Fargo upgrades Cablevision to Outperform from Market Perform.

Verizon (VZ): Wells Fargo also raises its Verizon rating (Outperform from Market Perform). See Two Ways: Verizon's Growth Continues.

Radioshack: KeyBanc lifts RadioShack to Hold from Underweight following earnings. While sales trends are improving, the SG&A outlook is limited.

Cabot Oil & Gas (COG): JP Morgan upgrades Cabot Oil & Gas to Overweight from Neutral after an above-average production acceleration in its third quarter.

Federal Realty (FRT): The stock gets a Buy-from Neutral boost at Bank of America/Merrill Lynch, the broker also taking up its price target to $63.50 from $59, on its strong track record of making off-market transactions.


Anheuser-Busch InBev (BUD): The beverage company is lowered to Neutral from Buy at Nomura. (SOHU): RBC Capital cuts to Sector Perform from Outperform.

Sunoco Logistics Partners (SXL): The stock gets taken to Hold from Buy by Wunderlich, with the target price clipped $3 to $60 after a weak quarter.

Spectra Energy (SE): Citigroup downgrades Spectra Energy (Sell from Hold) though the objective is increased to $18 from $16.

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