Telecom equipment stocks are expected to come under pressure today after Sanford Bernstein, which does not do investment banking, cut its rating on Cisco Systems (CSCO) - Get Report and Nortel Networks (NT) to market perform from outperform.

Sanford Bernstein's research is highly valued because of its reputation for maintaining independence from companies, unlike typical brokerage houses, which have traditionally received much of their information directly from companies. Cisco and Nortel, along with other networking names, are likely to be hurt by the comments.

The assumption among some in the market is that companies are pulling back on telecom equipment spending. This morning could also hurt fiber optics names like

Corning

(GLW) - Get Report

and

JDS Uniphase

(JDSU)

, as well as telecom equipment names like

Lucent

(LU)

,

Motorola

(MOT)

and

3Com

(COMS)

.

Mea culpa

. Is it necessary to explain that, sometimes analysts, once assigning a price target to a company, tend not to update that price target terribly often? After

priceline.com

(PCLN)

issued an earnings warning yesterday and saw its stock plummet from $18.64 to $10.75,

PaineWebber

had the good sense this morning to trim the price target to $15 from $125, a target the company hasn't been in striking distance of since mid-March.

PaineWebber also raised its 2000 loss estimate on the company to a 6-cent loss from a 4-cent loss, and trimmed 2001 earnings estimates to 22 cents a share from 31 cents per share, but maintained a buy rating.

Credit Suisse First Boston

raised its loss estimate on the company for 2000 to 6 cents a share from 3 cents a share.

Upgrades

Electronic Arts

(ERTS)

: UP to strong buy from buy at CSFB.

Hillenbrand Industries

(HB)

: UP to buy from hold at

ING Barings

.

Weatherford International

(WFT) - Get Report

: UP to buy from accumulate at

Merrill Lynch

.

Xilinx

(XLNX) - Get Report

: UP to strong buy from buy at

Chase Hambrecht & Quist

; price target: $105.

Downgrades

Constellation Energy

(CEG)

: DOWN to market performance from buy at

Donaldson Lufkin & Jenrette

.

Parker Hannifin

(PH) - Get Report

: DOWN to neutral from attractive at

Bear Stearns

.

Initiations

Florida East Coast Industries

(FLA)

: NEW buy at CSFB.

LifeMinders

(LFMN)

: NEW near-term accumulate and long-term buy at Merrill.

Macromedia

(MACR)

: NEW attractive at PaineWebber; price target: $94.

Textron

(TXT) - Get Report

: NEW buy at

Lehman Brothers

; price target: $65.

Trico Marine Services

(TMAR)

: NEW strong buy at

Deutsche Banc Alex. Brown

.

Ventro

(VNTR) - Get Report

: NEW hold at

UBS Warburg

.