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Upgrades & Downgrades: First Solar Gets Eclipsed

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Maybe the experts know something we don't know.

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The S&P 500 fell for a fourth straight session -- its steepest drop since October 1st -- ensuring a close below the 50-day moving average as a 12% jump in the VIX had investors holding their nose. Read more on volatility in VXX Is a Hollow Move.

Nathan Rothchild's 199 year old advice to "Buy on the cannons, sell on the trumpets" looked long in the tooth with Canon (CAJ) tumbling 2.28% after posting a 55% profit plunge. It was a bad day for Goodyear (GT), 19.59% lower in its sharpest sell off since the crash of October '87. In otherwise inauspicious equity action, IPO Vitamin Shoppe could at least afford to buy a vowel after its 6.00% surge while Dole Food (DOLE) (+1.09%) and Chiquita Brands (CQB) (+5.97%) both bucked broader banana skins. As indeed did the buck, up for five successive days in currency trading.

On a day stocks fell, the Fall Classic got underway in a damp and drizzly New York as showers stopped just in time to prevent the dreaded tarp making an appearance. Much to the relief of chief Yankees sponsor Bank of America (BAC), which has had quite enough TARP troubles of late. And hours before Broad Street beat Broadway in the Bronx, economists at 85 Broad cut their third quarter GDP forecast to 2.7% from 3.0%. Past examples of heads-up prophets at the House of Profits gave rise to Goldman (GS) grassy knoll conspiracy theories, but a reassessment is in order after the actual figure just came in at a two-year high of 3.5%. Initial unemployment claims fell 1,000 last week and AstraZeneca (AZN), Avon (AVP), Colgate-Palmolive (CL), Deutsche Bank (DB), Eastman Kodak (EK), Exxon Mobil (XOM), Kellogg (K), Monster Worldwide (MWW), Motorola (MOT), Procter & Gamble (PG), Sprint Nextel (S), and Volkswagen all report results.

Initiations

Adobe Systems (ADBE): Morgan Stanley starts Adobe Systems at Overweight with a $40 price target.

Oil Services: Oil service names Halliburton (HAL) (Outperform) and Smith International (SII)(Market Perform) are initiated at Wells Fargo.

IMAX Corp. (IMAX): Piper Jaffray picks up coverage of IMAX (Overweight; $14 objective).

Upgrades

Urban Outfitters (URBN): The retailer is increased to Overweight from Market Weight at Thomas Weisel.

MeadWestvaco (MWV): Paper play MeadWestvaco is upgraded at Sterne Agee to Buy from Neutral. The price objective is also increased by $5 to $30 on their diverse business portfolio.

Methanex (MEOH): The stock gets lifted to Buy from Neutral at UBS.

Genworth Financial (GNM): Bank of America/Merril Lynch upgrades Genworth to Buy from Neutral while shaving its target price by a dollar to $13. The broker believes a recent 36% share price decline "suggests investors are discounting an elevated level of near-term EPS risk".

ArcelorMittal (MT): Steel giant ArcelorMittal is boosted by Societe Generale (Buy from Hold).

Boston Properties (BXP): Deutsche Bank upgrades Boston Properties to Buy from Hold, taking the target to $69 from $46, after its above-consensus quarter.

Fifth Third Bancorp (FITB): The regional bank is increased to Outperform from Neutral at Robert Baird on valuation.

Human Genome Sciences (HGSI): JP Morgan raises Human Genome Sciences to Overweight from Neutral.

Boeing (BA): The stock is upgraded to Outperform at Macquarie Research.

Downgrades

Goodyear: Bank of America/Merril Lynch tires of Goodyear, giving it a 180 degree Underperform-from-Buy downgrade and taking its target to $10 from $22. Weaker than expected North American operating leverage was the main factor in yesterday's earnings miss.

First Solar (FSLR): The solar stock finds itself eclipsed at Bank of America/Merrill Lynch, cut to Neutral from Overweight with the target price clipped to $135 from $180.

Activision (ATVI): Piper Jaffray reduces its Activision rating to Neutral from Overweight.

Elan (ELN): Irish drug outfit Elan is taken to Neutral from Buy by UBS.

Agnico-Eagle Mines (AEM): The gold miner is cut to Neutral from Overweight at Credit Suisse.

Gannett (GCI): Wells Fargo downgrades Gannett to Underperform from Market Perform. For more on this sector, see Who Needs Newspapers Anyway?





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