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Upgrades & Downgrades: Garmin Navigating Lower

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Maybe the experts know something we don't know.

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A tough (and Tufts) end to trading after a stand pat Fed saw shares stand still, equities giving up earlier increases to end mixed as markets discovered a House is not a home. Our elected Representatives passed credit card-curbing legislation to touch off a predictably poor reaction from financials and override good gains in Pulte Homes (PHM) (+3.47%) and its ilk on signs of real estate stabilization. See also Five Things: Banks Go For Broke. Navigation provider Garmin (GRMN) (-14.55%) lost its sense of direction like the market overall. Bellying up to the Bar provided no relief for Molson Coors (TAP) (-8.54%) -- or indeed Bank of America (BAC) -- and flash memory stock STEC Inc (STEC) (-38.92%) endured a day to forget. The Phillies' failure to win back-to-back World Series brought relief to Wall Street and ensures the return of ticker tape to the financial district tomorrow. (Though for an iconic American five-and-dime on the parade route, those paper pennies from heaven could soon fall on Italian owners.)

A day after Almost Family (AFAM) reported results, executives of Ancestry.com ring Nasdaq's opening bell, its IPO having been priced at $13.50 per share. At 8:30AM Eastern initial unemployment claims came in at 512,000 and third quarter nonfarm productivity rose 9.5%. While earnings announcements have slowed from a blizzard to a trickle, Activision Blizzard (ATVI), CBS Corp (CBS), Cigna (CI), CVS Caremark (CVS), DirecTV (DTV), MGM Mirage (MGM), Nasdaq OMX (NDAQ), Sara Lee (SLE), Spectra Energy (SE), Starbucks (SBUX), Thomson Reuters (TRI), Time Warner Cable (TWC), Toyota (TM), Unilever (UL), and Wendy's/Arby's (WEN) all issue quarterly updates.

Initiations

Fortune Brands (FO): Bank of America/Merrill Lynch begins Fortune Brands at Neutral with a price objective of $43. While impressed with its strong brands and above-peer margins, the broker sees "little evidence so far" of an upturn in the spirits sector.

Thomas & Betts (TNB): The stock is started at Buy with a $49 price target at Jesup and Lamont, strong international growth among factors cited.

Eaton Corp (ETN): Eaton is initiated at Neutral ($70 target) by Robert Baird, which looks for pullbacks to provide a more attractive reward/risk profile.

Upgrades

Palm (PALM): Barclays raises its Palm rating to Equal Weight from Underweight.

Brinker International (EAT): Sanford Bernstein upgrades Brinker International (Market Perform from Underperform).

Medtronic (MDT): The stock moves up to Outperform from Neutral at Credit Suisse.

Deutsche Telekom (DT): Citigroup takes Deutsche Telekom to Buy from Hold.

Unilever: The food packager is upped to Add from Reduce by Natixis after earnings.

Dominion Resources (D): The stock gets a Hold-from-Underperform boost at Jefferies. The target is also increased $8 to $36 with shares fairly valued at its current price point.

Sunpower (SPWRA): Deutsche Bank upgrades Sunpower to Buy from Hold with a $31 target price due to its impressive market position.

Martha Stewart Living Optimedia (MSO): The stock gets goosed to Buy from Hold ($6.25 objective) at Morgan Joseph after earnings and its Home Depot (HD) announcement.

Downgrades

Comcast (CMCSA): Collins Stewart cuts Comcast to Hold from Buy as the stock is seen as range-bound.

Garmin: The GPS maker finds itself downgraded to Underperform from Sector Perform at RBC Capital. See also Five Reasons Garmin's Stock May Be Headed South.

FEMSA: HSBC cuts FEMSA (Neutral from Overweight).

Lukoil: The stock is lowered to Underperform from Outperform by Credit Suisse.

Molson Coors: Crying into its beer is the order of the day for Molson Coors, reduced to Neutral from Buy at Goldman, which also removes it from the Americas Buy list. For more on the name, see To Survive, Some Retailers Go Down Market.
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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