StreetNotes: A Daily Summation of Street Research

Here's who made what call on Thursday.
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CHANGE IN RATINGS

Advanced Auto Parts

upgraded at Smith Barney:Smith Barney said it is increasing its rating on AAP to Buy. Target raised to $75 a share. Valuation full and decelerating comps on the horizon.

Analog Devices

upgraded at Morgan Stanley: Morgan Stanley said it is increasing its rating on ADI to Overweight. Analog business offers investors relative pricing power and stable growth prospects.

AIG

downgraded at Smith Barney: Smith Barney said it is lowering its estimates on AIG for the full year to Hold from Buy. Risks have not evaporated.

AIG

estimates raised at Morgan Stanley: Morgan Stanley said it is increasing its target on AIG to $67 a share from $63 a share. Company posted another back to business quarter. Maintained Overweight rating.

Albemarle

coverage initiated at Jefferies: Jefferies said it is initiating coverage on ALB with a Hold rating and $40 target price.

C.R. Bard

coverage initiated at Smith Barney: Smith Barney said it is upgraded its rating on BCR to Buy with a $73 target price. This is a valuation call.

Kohl's

upgraded at Deutsche: KSS was upgraded from Hold to Buy, Deutsche Bank said. $66 price target. Company has revamped its stores, and should post solid growth against easy comparisons. 20% annual earnings improvement is very likely.

Nasdaq Stock Market

upgraded at Jefferies: Jefferies said it is upgrading NDAQ to a Hold rating due to expected earnings accretion from merger with INET.

Novellus Systems

downgraded at J.P. Morgan: NVLS was downgraded from Overweight to Neutral, JP Morgan said. Company is not gaining market share as quickly as expected, and the valuation remains at the high end of the industry.

News Corp.

upgraded at Deutsche: NWS.A was upgraded to Buy, Deutsche Bank said. $21 price target. Estimates also raised, as the company should be able to build upon recent earnings momentum.

Pier 1

upgraded at Deutsche Bank:PIR was upgraded from Sell to Hold, Deutsche Bank said. $13 price target. Near-term downside is limited, and investors should no longer short the stock.

PMI

upgraded at Morgan Stanley: PMI rating raised to Equalweight at Morgan Stanley based on the expectation the company will no longer seek diversification and rating agencies will allow some capital relief of mortgage insurance captives.

Rare Hospitality

downgraded at Suntrust: RARE was downgraded from Buy to Neutral, Suntrust Robinson Humphrey said. Company seems to be losing market share, and there is little room for near-term expansion in the steakhouse business.

Thornburg Mortgage

coverage initiated at Bear: Bear said it is initiating coverage on TMA with an Outperform rating and $30 target price. Dividend looks sustainable for foreseeable future.

UST

upgraded at UBS: UBS said it is increasing its rating on UST to Neutral as the stock is approaching its target price.

Varian Semi

upgraded at J.P. Morgan: VSEA was upgraded from Neutral to Overweight, JP Morgan said. 2006 estimates also raised, as the company is gaining market share faster than expected. Sales are particularly ramping in Japan.

STOCK COMMENTS / EPS CHANGES

Commerce Bancorp

estimates raised at Piper: Piper said it is raising its 2005 estimates on CBH by a penny to $1.87 a share due to stabilizing net interest margin. Maintained Market Perform rating.

Constellation Energy

estimates cut at CSFB: CSFB said it is cutting its 2005 estimates on CEG by 4 cents to $3.50 a share. Maintained Outperform rating.

Cisco

estimates revised at BofA:BofA said it is increasing its 2005 estimates on CSCO for the full year to 92 cents a share. 2006 numbers cut to $1.02 a share from $1.05 a share. BofA continues to believe.

Disney

estimates upped at Morgan Stanley: Morgan Stanley said it is increasing its estimates on DIS for the full year to $1.34 a share from $1.29 a share. Incremental share buybacks. Maintained Equalweight rating.

Kimberly Clark

upgraded at BofA: BofA said it is increasing its estimates on KMB to Buy on better branding. Target is $72 a share.

Lamar Advertising

coverage initiated at BofA: BofA said it is initiating coverage on LAMR with a Buy rating and a $50 target price. The company is uniquely positioned within outdoor media.

NDC

estimates lowered at Goldman: Goldman said it is lowering its estimates on NDC for the full year to 54 cents a share from 57 cents a share.

optionsXpress

numbers raised at Goldman: Goldman said it is increasing its estimates on OXPS for the full year by 2 cents a share to 72 cents a share. Company reported strong trading volumes in July.

ARAMARK

numbers cut at Morgan Stanley: Morgan Stanley said it is lowering its estimates on RMK for the full year 2006 by a penny to $1.79 a share. Q3 was at top of guidance range. Uniform retail was soft.

Vertex Pharma.

target raised at CSFB: CSFB said it is raising its target price on VRTX to $24 based on higher VX-950 sales estimates.

WMS Industries

estimates lowered at BofA: BofA said it is lowering its estimates on WMS by a penny to 69 cents a share from 70 cents a share. Expects tug of war between bulls and bear to continue.

WMS Industries

estimates raised at Jefferies: Jefferies said it is raising its 2005 estimates on WMS by 3 cents to 69 cents a share to reflect solid June quarter earnings. Maintained Buy rating.

W&T Offshore

estimates raised at Jefferies: Jefferies said it is raising its 2005 estimates on WTI by 35 cents to $6.67 a share due to strong production results and guidance.