CHANGE IN RATINGS
downgraded at Friedman, Billings Ramsey from Outperform to Market Perform. $15 price target. CCBL purchase will likely dilute near-term earnings, which should hang over the stock for the next few quarters.
Briggs & Stratton
upgraded at Robert Baird from Underperform to Neutral. $29 price target. Stock is down 20% since earnings, and the stock is already beginning to reflect lower consumer spending.
( CPO) downgraded at BB&T from Buy to Hold. Stock is up about 18% over the past six weeks, and high corn costs are offsetting strong byproduct pricing.
downgraded at Bear Stearnsfrom Overweight to Market-weight. Earnings could rebound in 2008, though conventional milk costs remain high. Estimates also lowered.
downgraded at Merrill Lynch from Buy to Neutral. Stock is up four times more than its peers, and the company faces higher near-term execution risk.
initiated at Jefferies with Buy rating. Price target starts at $25 with 2008 eps estimates at $1.02.
Heidrick & Struggles
upgraded at Merrill Lynch from Sell to Neutral. Stock is down about 25% this month, and is already pricing in slower economic growth. New dividend also confirms the company's financial health.
upgraded at Merrill Lynchfrom Neutral to Buy. Company looks attractive at 7 times expected 2008 EBITDA, and buybacks should add materially to earnings. Sum of the parts valuation leads to a $35 price target.
downgraded at Bear Stearns from Outperform to Peer Perform. Valuation call, as near-term price competition has likely stabilized with GIS.
upgraded at Merrill Lynchfrom Sell to Neutral. Stock is down 25% over the past month, and is largely already pricing in slower economic growth.
Marsh & McLennan
downgraded at JP Morgan from Overweight to Neutral. Recent executive changes could suggest that a second half turnaround is not materializing. Estimates also cut.
initiated with Neutral rating at UBS. Price target starts at $37 with 2008 eps estimates at $1.18.
downgraded at JP Morgan from Overweight to Neutral. Valuation call, as the stock is up more than 30% since January. Estimates also cut, as the next industry pre-buy could be pushed out.
( SNIC) upgraded at JP Morgan from Neutral to Overweight. Valuation is attractive, and estimates are also being raised ahead of the company's new Creator 10 software release.
STOCK COMMENTS / EPS CHANGES
2009 estimates cut at Credit Suisse by 5 cents to $2.05 after company reduced guidance. Maintained Neutral rating.
numbers raised at UBS. Price target lifts to $112 from $106 and FY2008 eps estimates bump up to $6.28 from $6.24. Reiterates Buy rating.
STRATEGY CALLS / MARKET CALLS
Homebuilder price targets cut at Goldman Sachs: It is lowering its price targets on a number of homebuilders based on continuing weakness in the housing market. See price-to-book value multiples shrinking as investor sentiment remains negative.
target cut to $22 from $33;
target lowered to $25 from $36.
target dropped to $26 from $22;
target slashed to $9 from $17;
target cut to $15 from $21; and
target reduced to $11 from $17.