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Upgrades & Downgrades: American Eagle Soars


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

When you want to stop the bleeding, bring in the Red Cross. By the time it brought trading to a close, stocks had snapped back in some style from their steepest slide of 2012 amid a positive private payroll report for February and rumors that the Fed - but the latest to jump in on the country's increasingly frenzied birth control debate - was weighing a "sterilized" form of bond buying. Also helping shares score their biggest gains in three weeks was optimism expressed by German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble that Greece will indeed reach a debt deal ahead of today's latest "deadline." He hopes so, for the sooner it happens, the quicker Schäuble can return to really important stuff like playing Sudoku on his iPad, unencumbered by those endless Parliamentary debates on aid for Athens. A new and improved iPad 3 no less, complete with voice dictation. That's nice to have but hardly life and death, hence Apple Inc (AAPL) ending up all of 0.08% after the ballyhooed announcement. By contrast doctors' horrendous handwriting really can kill you, one reason why the aptly named Transcend Services (TRCR) - whose speech recognition technology converts physician recordings into electronic formats - eclipsed all other Russell 2000 (^RUT) issues in surging some 39.15%. Elsewhere a Kentucky town recently voted to stay dry by tossing a coin, meaning pride of Louisville Brown-Forman (BF-B) can't even cry into its bourbon after announcing a 5.4% fall in third quarter profit. (Hey, there's always iced tea.)

First Solar (FSLR), disintegrating along with the sun, slid 6.62% to a fresh low in again leading all S&P 500 (^GSPC) laggards. Dual ratings reductions put Pandora (P) in a box, the stock plunging 23.90%. Perhaps naming your company after an artifact in Greek mythology that contained all the evils of the world isn't all that wise in the current climate. World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) lost 1.35% and stands near a new low on concerns over what will happen when The Rock's story line ends on April 1 - investors obviously see cold comfort in coleslaw. And Kraft Foods (KFT) fell 1.15% in posting the Dow's (^DJI) poorest performance as an analyst waited until 24 hours after the Nabisco-owner celebrated Oreo's 100th birthday to downgrade, a move that fellow Hoboken native Frank Sinatra would surely have slugged the brokerage firm for. Nonetheless the food giant took the news in stride, showing it is a GCB (Good Christian Brand) and sensibly opting to turn the other cheek. Today's earnings announcements are expected to include Anheuser Busch InBev (BUD), Body Central (BODY), Cantel Medical (CMN), Deutsche Post (DPSTF.PK), Kirkland's (KIRK), Navistar (NAV), Quiksilver (ZQK), Ulta Beauty (ULTA), Smith & Wesson (SWHC), Williams-Sonoma (WSM), and Zumiez (ZUMZ).


Anadarko Petroleum (APC): Capital One rolls out Add rated coverage on APC.

Internet-related stocks: Angie's List (ANGI) is begun with a Buy at Canaccord Genuity, which has Holds on HomeAway (AWAY) and Zynga (ZNGA).

Nielsen (NLSN): NLSN is a new Outperform at Macquarie.

Neurocrine Biosciences (NBIX): Leerink Swann starts at an Outperform.

Glu Mobile (GLUU): The mobile games maker gets begun with a Buy recommendation and $7 price objective at Canaccord Genuity, which says it offers investors pure-play exposure to smartphone growth.

Halozyme Therapeutics (HALO): The stock is assigned an Overweight by Barclays.

WPX Energy (WPX): JPMorgan has a new Neutral on WPX.


American Eagle Outfitters (AEO): The clothing company, whose shares ended up 6.26% yesterday, is showing further strength this morning after being boosted by both Goldman Sachs (added to the Conviction Buy List) and Nomura (Buy from Neutral.)

Cablevision (CVC): Citigroup adds the stock to its Top Picks Live list.

Ciena (CIEN): Shares get a Buy-from-Hold hoist at Stifel Nicolaus, which sets a $20 target price on a firm it says is seeing positive demand in the US despite a flat capital expenditure environment.

Cintas (CTAS): The uniform manufacturer is upgraded to Overweight from Neutral at JPMorgan.

Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS): WestLB raises its recommendation to Buy from Add.

STMicroelectronics (STM): The tech firm's shares are up sharply ahead of the open after being boosted to Neutral from Underperform by BNP Paribas.

Aruba Networks (ARUN): ARUN is increased to Outperform from Market Perform by brokers William Blair.

ARM Holdings (ARMH): Morgan Stanley moves the stock to Overweight from Equal Weight.

AXIS Capital (AXIS): AXIS is hoisted to Buy from Hold at Deutsche Bank.

DCP Midstream (DPM): Bank of America-Merrill Lynch lifts the equity to Buy from Neutral.

DTS Inc (DTSI): Shares are now Neutral from Underweight at JPMorgan.

Gibraltar Industries (ROCK): Keybanc Capital raises its rating to Buy from Hold.

Kratos Defense and Security (KTOS): Shares are boosted to Buy from Hold, also at Keybanc.

Macerich (MAC): Jefferies moves MAC to Buy from Hold.

RLJ Lodging Trust (RLJ): The company is taken to Buy from Neutral at Janney Montgomery Scott.


Adidas (ADDYY.PK): The German footwear giant gets downgraded to Hold from Buy at Société Générale.

American Midstream Partners (AMID): Bank of America-Merrill Lynch lowers the stock to Neutral from Buy.

Shipping stocks: Seaspan (SSW) is taken is taken to Underperform from Neutral at Credit Suisse, which downgrades Danaos (DAC) to Neutral from Outperform.

Kopin (KOPN): The small cap stock is slashed to Hold from Buy with Wunderlich, which trims its target by $1.50 to $5.00 as military sales appear unsustainable.

Synnex (SNX): Saying they see no new meaningful catalysts on the horizon following a strong recent run, Stifel Nicolaus cuts the stock to Hold from Buy.

Vornado Realty Trust (VNO): Argus reduces the REIT to Hold from Buy due to valuation concerns.
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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