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Upgrades & Downgrades: Deckers Outdoor Back Up Off the Floor?


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

Investors yesterday made a mint in the market, although an after-hours announcement was a redundant reminder that you can't take it with you and even $44 billion doesn't buy health, a commodity infinitely more important than money. Stocks scored their broadest rally of 2012, the Dow's (^DJI) fourth increase in five sessions taking it back above 13,000 after a successful Spanish bond auction and signs earnings season is off to a solid start. Among financials Goldman Sachs (GS) initially rose following first-quarter results but actually ended down 0.74%. With its average pay packet plunging 16% to $135,123, the realization dawned that they are no longer quite so flush with cash. I mean come on, that barely leaves five grand left over after buying one of those $130,000 jewel-encrusted toilets. Rival Bank of America (BAC) increased 1.48% after indicating it will put its international wealth unit up for sale. "There is a lot of soul-searching going on by a lot of players as to what to do with their non-US private banking operations," according to an unnamed investment banker, in what may be the first-ever instance of an investment banker searching his soul. Fellow blue chip Coca-Cola (KO) gained 2.08% to touch a 14-year high. Clearly the stock is a fine place to park money but a $130 million problem may come its way after a garage sale. Elsewhere Apple Inc (AAPL), famously founded in a garage, snapped a five-session slump in some style with a 5.10% surge.

Lumberjacks were just anointed America's worst profession by the experts, but Monty Python may have been more on the money, with Lumber Liquidators (LL) proving to be a license to print money in jumping 7.06%. Brawney's lumberjack couldn't contain all the tears of Argentina at the moment, although you can cry for it safe in the knowledge that Kleenex maker Kimberly-Clark (KMB) rose 1.03% to hit the highest level in its history. Electric utility Edenor (EDN), pride of Buenos Aires, imploded 18.21% to post the NYSE's poorest performance while Telecom Argentina (TEO) tumbled 10.33%. And diamond wedding ring king Tiffany (TIF) ended up on a Ruby Tuesday despite a lukewarm analyst initiation. Investors instead opted to give more weight to its steady revenue stream in a world where a 94-year-old Austrian marries for a fifth time. He's a ways to go before matching 95-year-old Hungarian neighbor Zsa Zsa Gabor, who has tied the knot nine times, but is a spring chicken by comparison. No top-tier economic data due this morning but Hump Day of peak week for first quarter earnings announcements is here. American Express (AXP), BlackRock (BLK), eBay Inc (EBAY), F5 Networks (FFIV), Marriott International (MAR), St. Jude Medical (STJ), and Yum Brands (YUM) are all due to release results.


TripAdvisor (TRIP): Shares are initiated with a Market Perform at Wells Fargo.

Acuity Brands (AYI): The lighting company is launched with an Overweight at Piper Jaffray.

Bankrate (RATE): Suntrust resumes a Buy on RATE.

Blackstone (BX): BX is begun with a Buy recommendation and $20 price target at Stifel Nicolaus, which says the money manager has achieved strong returns for investors through multiple investment cycles.

Coal companies: Bank of America-Merrill Lynch launches Buys on Peabody Energy (BTU), Walter Energy (WLT), and Alpha Natural Resources (ANR). It assigns Underperforms on Arch Coal (ACI) and Consol Energy (CNX).

Cooper Industries (CBE): Piper picks up the industrial conglomerate at an Overweight.

Cenveo (CVO): Shares are covered with a Buy at CRT Capital.

Encore Wire (WIRE): KeyBanc Capital has a Hold on WIRE amid a roughly balanced risk/reward profile.

Energy Transfer Partners (ETP): Goldman Sachs gives ETP a rating of Neutral.

Fresenius Medical (FMS): FMS is a fresh Neutral at Robert W. Baird.

National Cinemedia (NCMI): Barrington Research begins coverage at Market Perform.


McDonald's (MCD): The Dow member gets moved to Buy from Hold at brokerage Edward Jones.

American International Group (AIG): William Blair increases AIG to Outperform from Market Perform, sending shares higher ahead of the opening bell.

Carlsberg (CABGY): Bank of America-Merrill Lynch boosts the Danish brewing firm to Buy from Neutral.

CNOOC Ltd (CEO): China's state oil giant gets juiced to Hold from Underperform at Jefferies.

C.H. Robinson (CHRW): Citing a citing a compelling risk/reward profile and favorable comparisons in the second half of 2012, Deutsche Bank takes the transport titan to Buy from Hold. Its price objective is $79.

Danone (DANOY): The French yogurt firm is now Buy from Neutral at Citigroup.

Deckers Outdoor (DECK): The Ugg maker, whose shares have slumped 31.05% in the past 12 months, is upgraded to Neutral from Underperform at Sterne Agee. The risk/reward profile is now back in balance, in its view.

First Solar (FSLR): Shares are downgraded elsewhere this morning but first the good news, a Hold-from-Sell hoist at Cantor Fitzgerald, whose target is $21.50.

ING Groep (ING): ING gets upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Citigroup.

Mid-Con Energy Partners (MCEP): Shares are moved to Outperform from Neutral with a $24 target at Robert W. Baird.

Patriot Coal (PCX): Morgan Stanley moves the stock to Equal Weight from Underweight.

SemGroup (SEMG): The oil and gas pipeline play is upgraded to Buy from Hold at Deutsche Bank.

Telecom Argentina (TEO): Deutsche takes TEO to Buy from Hold.


International Business Machines (IBM): The blue chip is now Neutral from Outperform at Macquarie after last night's earnings announcement.

Yahoo (YHOO): Shares are cut to Sector Perform from Outperform at Pacific Crest following yesterday's results.

First Solar (FSLR): Shares are slashed to Sell from Hold with Wunderlich, whose target is taken down to $14 from $38. Dwindling subsidies in Europe are an ongoing concern even after yesterday's corporate restructuring.

Comerica (CMA): BMO Capital cuts CMA to Market Perform from Outperform.

CTC Media (CTCM): downgraded to Underweight from Neutral at JPMorgan.

Cree Inc (CREE): ThinkEquity lowers the LED lighting company to Hold from Buy.

Dun & Bradstreet (DNB): JPMorgan downgrades DNB to Underweight from Neutral.

Homebuilders: Toll Brothers (TOL) and Lennar (LEN) are each now Neutral from Positive at Susquehanna.

MicroStrategy (MSTR): First Analysis moves MSTR to Underweight from Equal Weight, sending shares lower before the bell.

Repsol SA (REPYY): Another ratings reduction for the troubled Spanish energy outfit, today taken to Hold from Buy at Société Générale.
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