CHANGE IN RATINGS
Arthur J. Gallagher
upgraded at Merrill from Neutral to Buy. $27 price target. Company sports an attractive 5.3% dividend yield, and the stock is at its lowest valuation in 5 years. Brokerage margins should also stabilize with cost-cutting efforts.
upgraded at Citigroup from Hold to Buy. Company should be able to grow margins in BioSciences. $69 price target.
downgraded at Cowen to Neutral rating from Buy. Company cites lack of new product cycles on the horizon and the recent pop in BBY shares.
downgraded at Keybanc from Hold to Underweight. Company announced poor quarterly same-store sales, and competition should remain high in 2008. $15 price target.
upgraded at UBS to Buy rating from Neutral. Price target and FY 2008 eps estimates hold at $44 and $2.65.
rated new Outperfrom at Credit Suisse. Remains bullish on the near-term outlook for charter rates and believes current stock price presents a compelling entry point. Sets $70 target.
Helen of Troy
upgraded at Jefferies to Buy rating from Hold. Price target and FY 2008 eps estimates hold at $21 and $1.80.
downgraded at Wachovia to Market Perform. Stock looks fully valued, as 2008 estimates may fall short of consensus expectations.
Illinois Tool Works
downgraded at Merrill from Buy to Neutral. Estimates also cut, because of the company's dependence on the North American consumer.
upgraded at Merrill from Sell to Neutral. Stock is down 30% from its recent highs, and the recent restructuring efforts are beginning to gain traction.
downgraded at Merrill from Neutral to Sell. Estimates also cut, as the company will likely see lower demand as the economy continues to slow down.
upgraded at Merrill from Neutral to Buy. $22 price target. Company continues to focus on luxury autos, and has a strong presence outside of Florida and California.
upgraded at BofA to Neutral. $20 price target. Return of Howard Schulz could ultimately lead to a recovery.
upgraded at Deutsche from Sell to Hold. $28 price target. Stock has lost its premium valuation, though the refining outlook remains difficult.
STOCK COMMENTS / EPS CHANGES
numbers lowered at UBS. Price target slashed to $20 from $25 and FY 2009 eps estimates drop to $1.83 from $1.97. Reiterates Neutral rating.
( CHIC) 2008 estimates raised at FBR by 3 cents to $1.48 a share due to improved December traffic and lower promotions. Maintained Market Perform rating.
( LIFC) 2009 estimates cut at Morgan Stanley. Company offered disappointing guidance, because of Strattice uncertainty. Equal-weight rating.
Las Vegas Sands
numbers lowered at Jefferies. Price target dips to $142 from $152 and FY 2008 eps estimates drop to $3.05 from $3.14. Reiterates Buy rating.
( TWB) 2007 estimates raised at FBR by 9 cents to $1.91 a share following announcement of strong December comp. Maintained Outperform rating.
numbers lowered at Jefferies. Price target dips to $147 from $152 and FY 2008 eps estimates drop to $3.47 from $3.62. Reiterates Buy rating.
STRATEGY CALLS / MARKET CALLS
Retail estimates cut at Morgan Stanley
:Estimates cut at 6 retailers because of credit risk, Morgan Stanley said. SHLD probably has the largest amount of earnings at risk. Top-rated stocks remain WMT, TGT, CVS, NKE and WAG.
This article was written by a staff member of TheStreet.com.