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Thursday's Analysts' Upgrades, Downgrades

Change in Ratings

ADC Telecom (ADCT) upgraded at Deutsche from hold to buy with an $18 price target. Near-term consensus analyst estimates should prove conservative, as channel checks point toward healthy CapEx spending. 2008 estimate also raised.

Hain Celestial (HAIN) downgraded at JPMorgan from overweight to underweight. See downside potential to March quarter results, given disappointing sales trends.

Halliburton (HAL) upgraded at Goldman Sachs to buy from neutral based on improved outlook for North American drilling. See over 150 new floaters and jackups entering the market between 2008 and 2012, increasing revenue estimates for offshore drillers. Note HAL valuation and above-average earnings growth vs. peers. Price target raised from $44 to $48.

Hospira (HSP) downgraded at Morgan Stanley from overweight to equal-weight, with a $44 price target. New analyst believes the stock is fully valued. Earnings could also be hurt by a lull in generic patent expirations.

Lennox International (LII) downgraded at JPMorgan from overweight to neutral. Company lacks catalysts, with both residential and commercial construction declining. Estimates also cut, even with the benefit of stock buybacks and the cost reductions.

Nationwide Financial (NFS) upgraded at UBS to buy rating from neutral. Price target upped to $55 from $48 while fiscal year 2008 EPS estimates hold at $4.72.

Ralcorp (RAH) downgraded at JPMorgan from neutral to underweight. Company is facing increasing cost inflation pressures, which can't all be passed along to customers. Estimates also cut.

Virgin Media (VMED) downgraded at Jefferies to hold rating from buy. Price target dips to $16 from $22 while fiscal year 2008 EPS estimates lowered to loss of $3.02.

Weatherford (WFT) downgraded at Goldman Sachs to neutral from buy based on passing of catalysts and preference for HAL. Note recent strong performance and limited leverage to improved offshore outlook. Target at $80.

Westlake Chemical (WLK) upgraded at Morgan Stanley to overweight with a $22 price target. Company should benefit of lower ethane prices, relative to naptha. Estimates also increased.

Watsco (WSO) downgraded at JPMorgan from overweight to neutral. Company cannot cut costs fast enough to keep up with further construction weakness.

Stock Comments/EPS Changes

Mosaic (MOS) estimates, target raised at Morgan Stanley. MOS now expected to reach $93, Morgan Stanley said. Estimates also raised, as higher prices are driving margin growth. Equal-weight rating.

Merck (MRK) numbers lowered at Morgan Stanley. MRK now seen reaching $56 a share, according to Morgan Stanley. Estimates also cut, to reflect lower Vytorin numbers. Despite the cuts, the stock still offers a compelling buying opportunity. Overweight rating.

This article was written by a staff member of Ratings.

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