CHANGE IN RATINGS
upgraded at BB&T: BB&T said it is upgrading ALE to Buy from Hold and raising 2006 EPS estimates by 15 cents to $2.55. Sees a decrease in assumed annual earnings drag from corporate & other segment from 2005 levels. Maintain $50 target price.
downgraded at Bear: Bear said it is downgrading ATVI to a Peer Perform rating as channel checks indicate weaker than expected holiday sales. Target price cut to $16.
rated new Buy at Citigroup: Citigroup said it initiating coverage on AXP with a Buy. Believes they are best positioned to benefit from increased card spending from consumers and businesses. Sets $58 price target.
upgraded at Raymond James: BCSI was upgraded to Strong Buy, Raymond James said. $50 price target. Stock is down 20% since its earnings report, and the company should continue to realize strong demand for its proxy appliance.
downgraded at Prudential: Prudential said it is downgrading CAG to an Underweight rating as bad news like dividend cut and/or earnings reductions are likely before any good news. Target price is $20.
upgraded at Merrill: CBOU was upgraded from Neutral to Buy, Merrill Lynch said. $12.50 price target. Stock is already pricing in bad news, and management should be able to regain the trust of investors.
rated new Buy at Citigroup: Citigroup said it initiating coverage on CFC with a Buy. Believes they are best positioned to gain market share and sees significant value in mortgage servicing business. Sets $45 price target.
downgraded at J.P. Morgan: CMA was downgraded from Neutral to Underweight, J.P. Morgan said. Estimates also cut, as the company is being hurt by the narrow interest margin and will also be forces to end its reserve release sooner than expected.
Double Hull Tankers
rated new Buy at Merrill: DHT was initiated with a Buy rating, Merrill Lynch said. $14 price target. 15% yield offers safety in a volatile industry.
Double Hull Tankers
rated new Buy at UBS: UBS said it is initiating coverage on DHT with a Buy. Latest decrease in price presents a buying opportunity. Sets target price at $14.50.
rated new Neutral at UBS: UBS said it is initiating coverage on DIS based on strong brands and diverse revenue. Sets $28 price target.
downgraded at CSFB: CSFB lowered its rating on ESV to Neutral from Outperform. Stock has essentially reached its target price.
rated new Hold at Citigroup: Citigroup said it is initiating coverage on FNM with a Hold. Sees positives in the long-term from latest restructuring efforts. Sets $55 target price.
rated new Buy at Citigroup: Citigroup said it is initiating coverage on FRE with a Buy rating citing a near end of its road to recovery and solid near-term growth. Sets target price at $78.
downgraded at Citigroup: Citigroup said it is downgrading GP to Sell from Hold given the run-up in shares from the Koch tender offer. Sees very little risk in the deal not succeeding.
downgraded at Citigroup: Citigroup said it downgrading MNST to Hold from Buy seeing limited valuation upside from current levels. Maintain $41 price target.
upgraded at Merrill: MU was upgraded from Neutral to Buy, Merrill Lynch said. $20 price target. NAND market remains far from the top, and the company can garner 8% to 10% market share by 2007.
upgraded at Deutsche: Deutsche said it is upgrading MVK to a Buy rating and raising its target price to $44. Number of new initiatives to enhance earnings power are underway and not reflected in consensus estimates.
coverage initiated at Jefferies: Jefferies said it is initiating coverage on NVT with a Buy rating as company is an attractive play on the growth of dynamic navigation and location-based information services delivered via wireless handsets.
rated new Inline at Goldman: Goldman said it is initiating coverage on SHFL with an Inline rating. Sees exposure to the table game market promising. Fair value target price range set at $27-$31.
downgraded at UBS: UBS said it is downgrading SLB to Neutral from Buy. Stock has essentially reached its target price.
rated new Buy at Citigroup: Citigroup said it initiating coverage on SLM with a Buy based on its position as the top lender, service provider and collector of student loans. Sees strong future growth. Sets $61 price target.
downgraded at Legg Mason: Legg Mason said it downgrading TIF to a Hold from a Buy. Shares have reached established price target of $42.
downgraded at Prudential: Prudential said it is downgrading TM to a Neutral Weight rating based on valuation. Strong fundamentals intact, target price remains $100.
downgraded at Susquehanna Susquehanna said it is downgrading YHOO to a Neutral rating as risk/reward level is balanced here. Lion's share of valuation gap to peers has closed.
STOCK COMMENTS / EPS CHANGES
estimates lowered at Citigroup: Citigroup said it lowering 2006 EPS estimates on AZO to 8.15 from 8.35 based on hurricane exposure and one-time stock option expense. Maintain $109 price target.
outlook lowered at CSFB: CSFB said it is lowering its 2006 EPS estimates on AZO from $8.01 to $7.66 citing heavier expenses. Maintain $75 target price.
estimates cut at Piper: Piper said it is cutting its 2006 estimates on CBRL by 8 cents to $2.35 a share due to uncertain sales climate and options expensing. Maintained Market Perform rating.
outlook raised at Goldman: Goldman said it is raising 2006 EPS estimates on CPB by 4 cents to $1.78 citing encouraging margins and share repurchase announcement. Maintain Inline rating.
outlook raised at Goldman: Goldman said it is raising its Q4 2005 estimates on FL by a penny to 57 cents. Views improving inventory levels as a good sign. Maintain Inline rating.
target price raised at UBS: UBS said it is raising its target price on HAL to $83 from $79 citing valuation discount compared to peers. Maintain Buy rating.
outlook lowered at Citigroup: Citigroup said it is cutting both 2006/2007 EPS estimates on KMB by 5 cents to $3.95/$4.35 based on cost pressures from diaper prices. Maintain Hold rating.
estimates lowered at Citigroup: Citigroup said it lowering 1Q 2006 EPS estimates to 5 cents from 12 cents citing dramatic declines in DRAM pricing. Maintain $15 price target.
target price raised at UBS: UBS said it is raising its target price on OSIP to $29 from $28 citing merger synergies that were better than expected. Maintain Neutral rating.
target price raised at CSFB: CSFB said it is raising its target price on PBY to $13 from $12 seeing a rise in operating margins. Maintain Underperform rating.
estimates raised at Jefferies: Jefferies said it is raising its 2006 estimates on RATE by 5 cents to 82 cents a share due to announcement of two accretive acquisitions. Maintained Hold rating, target price raised to $30.
Thomas & Betts
target raised at Merrill: Shares of TNB now seen reaching $45, Merrill Lynch said. Recent meetings with management suggest the company should be a major beneficiary of the recovery in non-residential construction. Buy rating.
estimates raised at Citigroup: Citigroup said it raising Q4 2005 estimates on TXT by 6 cents to $1.15 after strong Q3 results. Maintain Buy rating.
outlook raised at UBS: UBS said it is raising 2005 EPS estimates on TXT to $3.96 from $3.87 based on announced sale of the AB 139 helicopter platform. Target price raised to $92 from $90.
outlook raised at Goldman: Goldman said it is raising 2006 EPS estimates on VAL 5 cents to $1.55 citing solid pricing and encouraging margins. Maintain Inline rating.