Sorry!! The article you are trying to read is not available now.
Thank you very much;
you're only a step away from
downloading your reports.

Stock Upgrades: Don't Dare Compare Apple and Orange

By

Wall Street ratings agencies set the tone for today's stock market.

PrintPRINT
Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) stock, now a mere six-and-a-half hours away from closing out its best April in four years, isn't looking too shabby at the moment. Indeed, its price objective was boosted to $635 from $620 by Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) just this morning. But it still badly trails Orange (NYSE:ORAN) over the past 12 months. Shares in the French telecom titan, already up 43.39% in the past 12 months, are surging another 3.25% to a fresh 52-week peak even as we speak. An analyst upgrade accounts for its pre-market strength. The company's most recent earnings revealed a solid 2.4% increase in total customers, and this Paris-based firm can also boast a plump dividend yield.
 
The stock market's Tuesday strength has now become so predictable that I could have phoned it in ahead of time. Although, in light of what happened to the author of (natch) Tuesdays With Morrie when he once tried to do exactly that, yours truly instead opted to eschew penning this piece prematurely. Ain't life a Mitch. Last year Dow Industrials (INDEXDJX:.DJIrose on a remarkable 20 straight Tuesdays, and the S&P 500′s (INDEXSP:.INX) streak now stands at seven. (Ruby Tuesday (NYSE:RT), which jumped 6.64% last week even in an otherwise tough time for equities, is clearly enjoying a halo effect.) With the drums of war becoming ever louder in Ukraine, the world's largest maker of deadly ammunition, Alliant Techsystems (NYSE:ATK), surged 6.77% to a historic high. Hatchets were buried elsewhere, however, as the most famous feud on Wall Street ended peacefully. A billionaire slugfest that broke out so spectacularly over Herbalife (NYSE:HLF) finished without a shot being fired, when the Journal reported that Carl Icahn told Bill Ackman, "The enema of my enemy is my friend." (I quote from a rush transcript provided by Dan Loeb.) Elsewhere, the rate of homeownership tumbled to its lowest level in 19 years. This, as a homeowner tragically lost hers for failing to furnish $6.50.
 
This afternoon in economics, the Federal Open Market Committee finishes its 48-hour policy meeting at 2:00 p.m. EDT. On the earnings front, International Paper (NYSE:IP), MetLife (NYSE:MET), and Yelp Inc. (NYSE:YELP) all release results.
 
Now let's analyze this morning's analyst upgrades, a diverse group that encompasses a homebuilder and semiconductor stock in addition to Orange.

Aspen Technology (NASDAQ:AZPN): Summit Research raises its recommendation to Buy from Hold.
 
Beazer Homes (NYSE:BZH): The homebuilder gets hoisted to Buy from Neutral at Sterne Agee.
 
Compass Minerals (NYSE:CMP): JPMorgan moves shares to Overweight from Neutral. Its target price is also taken up, to $99 from $76.
 
Orange: Today's headline stock gets an Equal Weight-from-Underweight boost by Barclays.
 
Parker-Hannifin (NYSE:PH): Morgan Stanley increases its investment assessment to Equal-Weight from Underweight. Its price objective, previously $122, moves $8 higher.
 
Pioneer Energy (NYSE:PES): Hailing the company's higher revenues, Wunderlich hoists its rating to Buy from Hold and also takes its target to $18 from $11.
 
Semiconductor Manufacturing (NYSE:SMI): Bank of America Merrill Lynch lifts its recommendation to Buy from Neutral.
 
StanCorp Financial (NYSE:SFG): Shares are now Equal-Weight from Underweight at Morgan Stanley.
 
Trinity Biotech (NASDAQ:TRIB): Roth Capital raises its rating to Buy from Neutral. The price target goes to $30 from $28.
 
Waddell & Reed (NYSE:WDR): The financial firm gets upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform by Keefe Bruyette.

Also see:

New Stock Coverage: Michael Kors Makes Its Mark

Stock Downgrades: Coach Is a Train Wreck
No positions in stocks mentioned.
The information on this website solely reflects the analysis of or opinion about the performance of securities and financial markets by the writers whose articles appear on the site. The views expressed by the writers are not necessarily the views of Minyanville Media, Inc. or members of its management. Nothing contained on the website is intended to constitute a recommendation or advice addressed to an individual investor or category of investors to purchase, sell or hold any security, or to take any action with respect to the prospective movement of the securities markets or to solicit the purchase or sale of any security. Any investment decisions must be made by the reader either individually or in consultation with his or her investment professional. Minyanville writers and staff may trade or hold positions in securities that are discussed in articles appearing on the website. Writers of articles are required to disclose whether they have a position in any stock or fund discussed in an article, but are not permitted to disclose the size or direction of the position. Nothing on this website is intended to solicit business of any kind for a writer's business or fund. Minyanville management and staff as well as contributing writers will not respond to emails or other communications requesting investment advice.

Copyright 2011 Minyanville Media, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
PrintPRINT
 
Featured Videos

WHAT'S POPULAR IN THE VILLE