Credit Suisse First Boston lifted Applied Materials' (AMAT) - Get Report EPS views and urged an aggressive buy based on weakness. Bear Stearns analyst Robert Maire said he continued to recommend the stock as a buy and reiterated a 12-month target of 135. Bear Stearns boosted 2000 EPS estimates to $2.37 from $2.20 and 2001 EPS views to $3.47 from $3.

Goldman Sachs

lifted the stock's EPS view to $3.55 from $2.75.

Donaldson Lufkin & Jenrette

said it would be an aggressive buyer of shares and sees the stock rising 25% to 45% over the next three to four months.

Today, DLJ reiterated coverage for:

Microsoft

(MSFT) - Get Report

at buy with a price target of 140. DLJ said it believes Microsoft "should win on appeal" in its U.S. antitrust litigation.

Upgrades

Air Products & Chemicals

(APD) - Get Report

: NEW buy at

ING Barings

; price target: 45.

Chartered Semiconductor

(CHRT)

: earnings and revenue estimates UP at First Boston.

Duke Energy

(DUK) - Get Report

: DOWN to outperform from buy at

ABN Amro

.

ExxonMobil

(XOM) - Get Report

UP to buy from market perform at

Deutsche Banc Alex. Brown

.

Fundtech

(FNDT)

: UP to buy from long-term attractive; near-term price target: 34; 12-month target: 45-50 at

Robertson Stephens

.

Initiations

Exelixis

(EXEL) - Get Report

: NEW buy rating at CSFB; price target: 40.

24/7 Media

(TFSM)

: NEW price target of 50 at CSFB.

CSFB analyst Michael Exstein rated

Wal-Mart

(WMT) - Get Report

a buy. The stock was added to the firm's focus list.

West TeleService

(WTSC)

: NEW buy; price target 28 at CSFB.

Group Actions

ABN Amro downgraded its recommended stance on the UK and European telecommunications sector, to underweight from in line. ABN cut its three-month rating on

Vodafone

(VOD) - Get Report

to hold from buy, while reiterating a cautious view on companies including

Equant

(ENT) - Get Report

and

Telewest

(TWSTY)

.

The bank retained a more positive stance on companies including

British Telecom

(BTY)

and

Cable & Wireless

(CWZ)

.