In a report titled Ford: The Worst Appears Over, Officially Lowering Estimates,

PaineWebber

cut its third-quarter and fourth-quarter estimates on

Ford

(F) - Get Report

by a penny each. The firm, which maintained its buy ratings and $46 price target on the stock, believes that although Ford still has liability issues, "it appears that the tread separation issue is becoming more attributable to Firestone."

Upgrades

National Semiconductor

(NSM)

: fiscal 2001 estimates UP to $3.10 a share from $2.90; fiscal 2002 UP to $3.20 a share from $3.05 at

Goldman Sachs

.

Downgrades

Burlington Resources

(BR) - Get Report

: DOWN to buy from strong buy at

Credit Suisse First Boston

.

Hovnanian

(HOV) - Get Report

TheStreet Recommends

: fiscal 2000 DOWN to $1.50 a share from $1.55; fiscal 2001 UP to $1.80 from $1.65 at

Donaldson Lufkin & Jenrette

.

Mpower

(MPWR) - Get Report

: DOWN to market outperformer at Goldman Sachs; fiscal 2000 estimates DOWN to a $5.45 loss from $5.07 loss.

Initiations

Checkpoint Software Technologies

(CHKP) - Get Report

: NEW intermediate accumulate, long-term buy rating; price target of $175.

Wal-Mart

(WMT) - Get Report

: NEW buy at

Banc of America

.

Group Moves

DLJ rolled out coverage of several managed care companies:

  • Sierra Health Services (SIE) : underperform.
  • Wellpoint Health Networks (WLP) : buy.
  • Cigna (CI) - Get Report: buy.
  • Coventry Healthcare (CVTY) : buy.
  • Foundation Healthcare (FHS) : buy.
  • Humana (HUM) - Get Report: market perform.
  • MidAtlantic Med Service (MME) : market perform.
  • Pacificare Health (MME) : underperform.
  • Oxford Health Plan (OXHP) : buy.
  • United Health Group (UNH) - Get Report: market perform.
  • RightChoice (RIT) : market perform.
  • Trigon Healthcare (TGH) - Get Report: market perform.

Lehman Brothers

raised its ratings and price targets on several medical and drug suppliers:

  • Bergen Brunswig (BBC) - Get Report: price target UP to 13 from 12; UP to outperform from neutral.
  • Harry Schein (HSIC) - Get Report: UP to outperform from neutral; price target UP to 25 from 21.