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Analyst Actions: IBM, Home Depot, Aetna, Texaco

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Credit Suisse First Boston made some comments about IBM's (IBM) fortunes this morning and the crystal ball wasn't so kind.

"We continue to believe that IBM cannot avoid deteriorating industry fundamentals this quarter, which extend to the enterprise and commercial markets," wrote analyst Kevin McCarthy. "As a result we believe there is downside to the Street's $26.75 billion revenue expectation for Q4; we currently estimate $25.75 billion."

Merrill Lynch

reduced earnings estimates on a wide range of retailers.

Home Depot

(HD)

,

Lowe's

(LOW)

,

Best Buy

(BBY)

,

Circuit City

(CC)

,

Office Depot

(ODP)

,

Staples

(SPLS)

,

Group 1

(GPI)

and

Sonic

(SAH)

were all affected by the change.

Upgrades

BJ's Wholesale Club

(BJ)

: UP to intermediate-term buy from accumulate at Merrill.

Costco Wholesale

(COST)

: UP to buy from accumulate at Merrill, price target $50, added to "Merrill Lynch Focus One" list.

General Growth Properties

(GGP)

: UP to strong buy from buy at

UBS Warburg

.

Henry Schein

(HSIC)

: UP to buy from hold at UBS Warburg.

Simon Property Group

(SPG)

: UP to strong buy from buy at UBS Warburg.

Downgrades

Alliance Semiconductor

undefined

: DOWN to accumulate from strong buy at

Prudential Securities

.

Clorox

(CLX)

: DOWN to hold from strong buy at Prudential.

BRE Properties

undefined

: DOWN to intermediate-term neutral, long-term accumulate from intermediate-term accumulate, long-term buy at Merrill.

Fortune Brands

(FB)

: DOWN to accumulate from buy at Merrill, price target $35.

Primus Telecommunications

undefined

: DOWN to hold from strong buy at

ING Barings

.

Tribune

(TRB)

: DOWN to hold from accumulate at Prudential.

Initiations

Aetna

(AET)

: NEW intermediate-term neutral. long-term accumulate at Merrill.P/>

Apogent Technologies

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: NEW buy at CSFB; price target: $32.

Bone Care International

(BCII)

: NEW strong buy at Prudential; price target: $35.

Kinder-Morgan

(KMI)

: NEW buy at UBS Warburg; price target: $35.

Lincare

(LNCR)

: NEW intermediate-term accumulate, long-term buy at Merrill; price target: $60.

Plexus

(PLXS)

: NEW buy at

Salomon Smith Barney

; price target: $65.

Rouse

(RSE)

: NEW buy at UBS Warburg; price target: $28.

Scios

(SCIO)

: NEW strong buy at Merrill; price target: $35.

Group Moves

Prudential Securities upped its ratings on a bunch of oil companies, citing attractive valuations. Here are the crude folks affected:

  • British Petroleum (BP) : accumulate from hold.
  • Conocoundefined: strong buy from accumulate.
  • Phillips (P) : strong buy from hold.
  • Texaco (TX) : strong buy from accumulate.
  • Royal Dutchundefined: accumulate from hold.
  • ExxonMobil (XOM) : accumulate from hold.

ING Barings initiated coverage on the airline industry:

  • AirTran (AAI) NEW buy.
  • AmSurgundefined NEW strong buy.
  • Atlantic Coast Airlines (ACAI) NEW buy.
  • SkyWest Airlines (SKYW) NEW strong buy.

Lehman Brothers initiated coverage on a half-dozen stocks in the personal care sector, all with neutral ratings. Here are the companies affected:

  • Clorox (CLX) .
  • Colgate (CL) .
  • Dial (DL) .
  • Gillette (GL) .
  • Playtexundefined.
  • Procter & Gamble (PG) .