Updated from 12:44 p.m. EST
CHANGE IN RATINGS
upgraded at Citigroup from Hold to Buy. Recent capacity cuts should drive pricing higher and offset lower volumes in 2009. Ball shares ended Thursday's trading session up 13 cents, or 0.3%, at $38.61.
downgraded at Merrill Lynch to Underperform. Stock is up 25% over the past six weeks, and there have already been several profit warnings in the industry. Shares closed down 49 cents, or 6.2%, at $7.46.
upgraded at ThinkEquity from Sell to Accumulate. $17 price target. Stock is finally starting to price in lower earnings expectations for 2009. Shares closed down 26 cents, or 1.8%, at $14.01.
downgraded at Citigroup to Sell. Cutting estimates for the third time, as lower utilization rates will compress margins. Shares closed down 59 cents, or 8.7%, at $6.22.
downgraded at Merrill to Underperform. Whole sector is being hurt by declining equity performance, and will likely limit future inflows. Shares closed down 76 cents, or 9.6%, at $7.20.
STOCK COMMENTS / EPS CHANGES
numbers cut at Barclays through 2009. Consumer environment continues to weaken, including negative data points coming out of emerging markets. Overweight rating and new $69 price target. Shares closed down 61 cents, or 1.03%, at $58.56.
target raised at Credit Suisse to $9 from $7 based on a better medium-term outlook from potential U.S. stimulus package. Maintained Underperform rating. Shares closed down $1.98, or 18.7%, at $8.63.
estimates cut at Oppenheimer through 2010. Capital Finance is the main culprit. Perform rating and $17 price target. Shares closed down 95 cents, or 5.3%, at $17.05.
2009 estimates cut at Credit Suisse from $22.29 to $20 based on limited visibility and weak global ad trends. Maintained Outperform rating and $400 target price. Shares closed down $8.60, or 2.8%, at $300.22.
numbers cut at Morgan Stanley. Shares now seen reaching $24. Estimates also cut, based on negative data points from the PC chain. Equal-weight rating. Share closed down $1.16, or 5.6%, at $19.45.
numbers cut at Barclays. Shares now seen reaching $32. Estimates also lowered, following the company's investor day. Equal-weight rating. Shares closed down $2.23, or 11.6%, at $16.92.
price target trimmed at Goldman to $18 from $19 based on significant deceleration in comps. Believe results aren't surprising considering peer results and believe company remains an attractive relative play in challenged specialty sector. Maintained Buy rating. Shares closed down $3.88, or 20.6%, at $14.98.
added to Conviction Buy List at Goldman. Based on valuation and likely passing of negative focus on MTV performance and share sales by National Amusements and Chairman Redstone. Note that MTV ratings will begin to lap sharp ratings declines in June 2009. Price target at $20. Shares closed down 28 cents, or 1.6%, at $17.57.
STRATEGY CALLS / MARKET CALLS
Tobacco sector downgraded at Goldman Sachs to Neutral from Buy, based on likely weakening of fundamentals in 2009. Top picks in sector include
Philip Morris International
. Philip Morris shares closed down 35 cents, or 0.8%, at $41.95. Lorillard shares closed down $2.39, or 3.9%, at $58.70.
This article was written by a staff member of TheStreet.com.