Bank of America Upgraded by Morgan Stanley and KBW

Bank of America

(BAC) - Get Report

caught two upgrades Thursday morning, one by Morgan Stanley, and another by Keefe, Bruyette & Woods.

Morgan Stanley raised its earnings estimates for the Charlotte-based banking giant, saying it expects BAC's banking and retail brokerage revenue to beat analyst estimates in the upcoming quarters. Morgan currently rates the stock as "Overweight," with a very high $32 price target. BAC shares closed Wednesday at $11.98.

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Keefe, Bruyette & Woods also upgraded BAC Thursday, raising its rating on the stock to "Outperform." Keefe feels that the banker is currently undervalued, given its improved balance sheet due to funds raised from recent share offerings. Keefe set a $16.50 price target on the stock.

Bank of America shares rose 75 cents, or +6.3%, in morning trading Thursday.

The Bottom Line

We removed shares of BAC from our "Recommended" list back on Sept. 15, when the shares were at $33.74. We had the shares briefly on our list from the $32.23 price point. The company has a .33% dividend yield, based on last night's closing stock price of $11.98.

The stock has near-term technical support in the $7.50 price area. If the shares can firm up, we see overhead resistance around the $14 price level. We would still remain on the sidelines for now.

Bank of America is not recommended at this time, holding a Dividend.com DARS Rating of 3.0 out of 5 stars.

Qualcomm Raises Sales, Operating Income Forecast

Mobile phone component maker

Qualcomm

(QCOM) - Get Report

on Thursday raised its third-quarter sales forecast, citing stronger demand for its mobile technologies.

The San Diego-based company said it now expects fiscal third-quarter sales to range between $2.67 billion and $2.77 billion, compared with a previous range of $2.4 billion to $2.6 billion.

On average, Wall Street analysts expect $2.54 billion for the third quarter, which ends June 28.

Additionally, Qualcomm raised its operating income guidance to a range of $830 million to $880 million, up from much lower estimates of $550 million to $650 million.

Despite the raised guidance, Qualcomm shares fell 23 cents, or -0.5%, in morning trading Thursday.

The Bottom Line

We removed shares of QCOM from our "Recommended" list back on Sept. 25, when the stock traded at $46.54. The company has a dividend yield of 1.40%, based on last night's closing stock price of $32.79.

The company has technical support in the $39-$40 price area. If the shares can firm up, we see overhead resistance around the $49-$50 price levels. Despite the good news, we would remain on the sidelines for now.

Qualcomm is not recommended at this time, holding a Dividend.com DARS Rating of 3.4 out of 5 stars.

Genesee & Wyoming Slashes Q2 Earnings Forecast

Railroad operator

Genesee & Wyoming

(GWR) - Get Report

lowered its fiscal second-quarter guidance Thursday, citing lower traffic on its shipping lines.

The Greenwich, Conn.-based company said it now expects second-quarter profit to range from 35 cents to 37 cents per share, down from a previous forecast for 45 cents per share. Analysts currently expect 45 cents per share, excluding items.

Genesee also cut its revenue outlook to about $130 million for the second quarter. Previously, the company had said it expected revenue to range from $140 million to $145 million.

The company said traffic on its rail lines declined 4.7% in May, which it cited for the lowered earnings forecast.

Genesee & Wyoming shares fell $1.19, or -4%, in morning trading Thursday.

The Bottom Line

Shares of GWR are off 52-week highs of $45 a share. The stock has technical support in the $24-$26 price area. If the shares can firm up, we see overhead resistance around the $32-$36 price levels. We do not currently rate this non-dividend paying stock, but we do watch this railroad operator as well as its competitors very closely.

Genesee & Wyoming does not currently pay a dividend.

Del Monte Foods Shares Rise After Earnings Beat Expectations

Food producer

Del Monte Foods Company

(DLM)

on Thursday reported better-than-expected fiscal fourth-quarter earnings, sending its shares rising.

The San Francisco-based company reported fiscal fourth quarter net income of $71.5 million, or 36 cents per share, up nearly 42% from $50.4 million, or 25 cents per share, in the year-ago period. Profit from continuing operations rose to $68.8 million, or 35 cents, in the quarter.

Del Monte said that quarterly sales rose 20% to $1.06 billion, compared with $875.8 million last year.

These results easily beat analyst estimates. On average, Wall Street analysts expected a profit of 26 cents per share on revenue of $956.6 million.

The company cited higher pricing, lower taxes, and strong sales of its food and pet products for the earnings beat.

As for the full fiscal year 2009, Del Monte said that its profit rose 30% to $172.3 million, or 87 cents per share, from $133.1 million, or 66 cents per share in fiscal 2008. Annual sales jumped 14% from last year, to $3.63 billion from $3.18 billion.

Looking ahead, the company forecast earnings from continuing operations of 76 cents to 80 cents per share, and sales growth of 4% to 6%. This sales growth implies sales of $3.78 billion to $3.85 billion. On average, Wall Street analysts expect profits of 75 cents per share on lower sales of $3.65 billion.

Del Monte shares rose 77 cents, or +10.2%, in morning trading Thursday.

The Bottom Line

:

We have avoided shares of DLM since our early June coverage began, when the stock was trading at $7.46. The company has a 2.00% dividend yield, based on last night's closing stock price of $7.65. The stock has technical support in the $6 price area. If the shares can firm up, we see overhead resistance around the $9.50 price levels. We like this morning's report and we bumped up our ratings on the stock as well.

Del Monte Foods is not recommended at this time, holding a Dividend.com DARS Rating of 3.3 out of 5 stars.

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At the time of publication, the author had no positions in stocks mentioned, although positions may change at any time.

Tom Reese and Paul Rubillo are senior editors of Dividend.com. Visit Dividend.com for more dividend stock ratings, picks, news, and analysis for long-term and income-seeking investors.