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The battered, vacillating semiconductor sector was given a shot in the arm today by Joe Osha, analyst for

Merrill Lynch

. He said the "mid-cycle correction has ended" and is specifically recommending the "communications-oriented and foundry businesses."

He's focusing on names including

Analog Devices

(ADI)

,

Taiwan Semiconductor

(TSM)

,

Texas Instruments

(TXN)

,

Cypress Semiconductor

(CY)

and

Atmel

(ATML)

. He estimates global revenue growth for the sector will be 40%, up from his earlier 32% estimate.

Upgrades

Ciena

(CIEN)

: UP to outperform from hold at

ABN Amro

.

Corixa

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: UP to outperform from neutral at Lehman Brothers.

Elan

(ELN)

:

Goldman Sachs

raised price target to 70.

Sprint PCS

(PCS)

: UP to strong buy from buy at

ING Barings

.

Varian Semicondcutor

(VSEA)

: UP to buy from neutral at

Lehman Brothers

.

Downgrades

MetLife

(MET)

: DOWN to neutral from outperform at Lehman Brothers.

Initiations

Concord EFS

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: NEW buy at Lehman Brothers; price target: 50.

Kana

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: NEW buy at

First Union

; price target: 50.

Kohl's

(KSS)

: NEW buy at

U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray

; price target: 65.

Martha Stewart Living

(MSO)

: NEW buy at U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray; price target: 39.

Target

(TGT)

: NEW buy at U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray; price target: 43.