Analyst Actions: IBM, Home Depot, Aetna, Texaco

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Credit Suisse First Boston made some comments about IBM's (IBM) - Get Report 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) - Get Report

,

Lowe's

(LOW) - Get Report

,

Best Buy

(BBY) - Get Report

,

Circuit City

(CC) - Get Report

,

Office Depot

(ODP) - Get Report

,

Staples

(SPLS)

,

Group 1

(GPI) - Get Report

and

Sonic

(SAH) - Get Report

were all affected by the change.

Upgrades

BJ's Wholesale Club

(BJ) - Get Report

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

Costco Wholesale

(COST) - Get Report

: 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) - Get Report

: UP to buy from hold at UBS Warburg.

Simon Property Group

(SPG) - Get Report

: UP to strong buy from buy at UBS Warburg.

Downgrades

Alliance Semiconductor

(ALSC)

: DOWN to accumulate from strong buy at

Prudential Securities

.

Clorox

(CLX) - Get Report

: DOWN to hold from strong buy at Prudential.

BRE Properties

(BRE)

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

Fortune Brands

(FB) - Get Report

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

Primus Telecommunications

(PRTL)

: 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

(AOT)

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

Bone Care International

(BCII)

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

Kinder-Morgan

(KMI) - Get Report

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

Lincare

(LNCR)

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

Plexus

(PLXS) - Get Report

: 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) - Get Report: accumulate from hold.
  • Conoco (COC.B) : strong buy from accumulate.
  • Phillips (P) : strong buy from hold.
  • Texaco (TX) - Get Report: strong buy from accumulate.
  • Royal Dutch (RD) : accumulate from hold.
  • ExxonMobil (XOM) - Get Report: accumulate from hold.

ING Barings initiated coverage on the airline industry:

  • AirTran (AAI) NEW buy.
  • AmSurg (AMSGA) NEW strong buy.
  • Atlantic Coast Airlines (ACAI) NEW buy.
  • SkyWest Airlines (SKYW) - Get Report 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: