Change in Ratings
upgraded at Merrill Lynchto Neutral from Underperform.. Challenges within the financial sector have highlighted the value of AFL as they generate an ROE in the 20s without meaningful risk. 2008 EPS lower to $3.98 from $4.00 based upon the expectation of a weaker yen/dollar exchange rate.
upgraded at Weiselto Overweight from Market Weight. $71 price target. AMGN has announced positive results from its Phase III placebo for postmenopausal osteoporosis. It should be noted that conclusions are difficult to draw from AMGN's press release as reduction in fracture rates were not cited.
upgraded at Bank of Americato Buy from Neutral. $46 price target. Market share gains should offset industry weakness for BBY. 2008 earning estimate increased to $3.31 from $3.21 and 2009 to $3.66 from $3.50.
( CHTT) upgraded at JPMorganto Overweight from Neutral. The large pullback within the stock is based upon concerns over slow revenue growth and has created a prime entry point given JPMorgan's view that revenue growth will rebound.
downgraded at Goldman Sachsto Sell from Neutral based on increased risk of weak earnings due to commodity inflation and slowing sales growth in core categories. Price target lowered to $54 from $57.
Dick's Sporting Goods
upgraded at Goldman Sachsto Buy from Neutral based on long-term potential and premier growth profile vs. peers. Note poor visibility but likelihood that smaller competitors will fold amid current weak conditions for sporting goods retailers. Price target at $22.
downgraded at KBWto Market Perform. $35 target. Estimates also cut, driven by lower realized investment fees.
downgraded at Goldman Sachsto Sell from Neutral due to weak macroeconomic conditions and increasing competition. See slowing export market for Chinese companies, labor cost inflation and increased competition from well-funded private peers. Price target lowered to $15 from $17.
upgraded at Goldman Sachsto Neutral from Sell. See limited valuation downside following recent weak quarterly results that were driven by rising commodities costs. Believe bad news priced into shares now. Target price at $58.
upgraded at Merrill Lynchto Buy from Neutral. $30 price target. It is expected that NTAP will benefit from an increase in their share repurchase authorization, a refreshed midrange and an extra week that should support October estimates.
upgraded at Weiselfrom Market-weight to Overweight. $145 price target. Domestic business is accelerating in a tough environment. European slowdown could actually push hotel sales online.
upgraded at JP Morganfrom Underweight to Neutral. Stock lagged its peers, and has several potential positive catalysts over the coming months.
upgraded at SunTrust to Buy. $70 price target. Economics within the Marcellus shale have improved driving the upgrade; however, lower gas prices reduced the price target by $2.
downgraded at Merrillto Neutral from Buy. $65 price target. DCF suggests there is a 30% upside potential for SFG, but this is far below the total return expectations for the life insurance companies under coverage.
downgraded at RBCto Sector Perform rating from Outperform. Price target dips to $26 from $28 and maintains Above Average Risk qualifier.
Stock Comments / EPS Changes
East West Bancorp
numbers lowered at RBCto $1 from $15 and FY09 eps estimates lowered to $1.00 from $1.20. Reiterates Sector Perform rating and Above Average Risk qualifier.
numbers lowered at RBCto $67 from $73 and FY09 eps estimates lowered to $6.72 from $7.26. Reiterates Sector Perform rating and Speculative Risk qualifier.
target cut at Credit Suisseto $113 from $119 based on market weakness and valuation. Maintained Neutral rating.
numbers lowered at RBCto $23 from $30 and FY09 eps estimates lowered to $1.60 from $1.70. Reiterates Sector Perform rating and Above Average Risk qualifier.
( XTO) target lowered at Credit Suisseto $67 from $78 to reflect restrained market appreciation for unproved reserves. Believes stock is attractive - maintained Outperform rating.
This article was written by a staff member of TheStreet.com Ratings.