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Analyst Actions: Xilinx, Altera, Gap,

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Chipmakers have been brutalized in November, scraping along the bottom of their 52-week trading range, sporting welts and bruises that'd make John Rambo grab the Kleenex and avert his gaze.



(XLNX) - Get Xilinx, Inc. Report



(ALTR) - Get Altair Engineering Inc. Class A Report

were two of the worst, taking 18% and 12% hits, respectively, on fears that they would miss earnings.

Merrill Lynch

commented on the situation this morning, in a report addressing investor concerns. Merrill reiterated its buy rating on Xilinx, saying it would meet its revenue and earnings per share estimates for the third quarter.

But Merrill said it was "somewhat cautious" about Altera, but reiterated its accumulate rating and stood by its earnings per share forecast. "The company's lack of design wins and greater exposure to mature products puts them more at risk to an inventory correction," the firm wrote.


Universal Health Services

(UHS) - Get Universal Health Services, Inc. Class B Report

: UP to buy from outperform at

Lehman Brothers

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, named "top pick" in health care facilities sector with a new price target of $115 from $105.


Health Management


: DOWN to outperform from buy at Lehman Brothers.


(GPS) - Get Gap, Inc. Report

: DOWN to accumulate from buy at Merrill Lynch.

Zion Bancorp

(ZION) - Get Zions Bancorporation, N.A. Report

: DOWN to immediate-term neutral from buy at Merrill Lynch.

(BYND) - Get Beyond Meat, Inc. Report

: DOWN to sell from hold at

Prudential Securities


Cross Timbers Oil


: DOWN to hold from buy at

UBS Warburg




(DOV) - Get Dover Corporation Report

: NEW neutral at Lehman Brothers; price target: $44.

Group Moves

Merrill Lynch downgraded a number of passive-component equipment makers to buy from neutral, saying "estimates for the next three months and beyond are at risk" in its report. Merrill also wrote "We are reducing our EPS projections for the next calendar year and would not be surprised if these new estimates still prove somewhat too optimistic."

Strong words.

Earnings per share estimates for the future were also downgraded at the following companies: