Editor's Note: In this feature from Stockpickr, we highlight lists of stocks that have been upgraded by analysts or are experiencing activist investor situations or some other market-moving events.Rumors of the Day: Now that BEA Systems ( BEAS), a stock holding of activist investor Carl Icahn, has received a $17-a-share bid from Oracle ( ORCL), StreetInsider.com reports that Icahn may next turn his attentions to Biogen Idec ( BIIB), where his Icahn Management hedge fund already owns a roughly 1% stake. BEA shares rocketed 38% to $18.80 on news of the $6.6 billion offer, while Biogen shares were gaining 2.6% to $68.88. Today's Hot List: General Electric ( GE) reported third-quarter earnings of 50 cents a share, which was in-line with estimates, and revenue of $42.5 billion, slightly above the consensus estimate of $42.4 billion. The company narrowed its 2007 earnings-per-share guidance to $2.19-$2.22, vs. prior guidance of $2.18-$2.23. Analysts are looking for $2.20. GE shares sunk 2.2% to $40.69. McDonald's ( MCD) said third-quarter earnings should exceed analysts' estimates as global comparable sales rose 5.9% in September and U.S. same-store sales are up 3.5%. Europe comparable sales rose 5.7% last month, while Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa comparable sales rose 12%. The restaurant chain expects third-quarter earnings will be 89 cents a share, including 83 cents from continuing operations and an after-tax gain of 6 cents from the sale of Boston Market. Analysts are looking for earnings of 77 cents before the gain. Shares of McDonald's gained 70 cents, or 1.2%, to $56.95.
Analyst Downgrades: Deutsche Bank downgraded Citigroup ( C) to sell from buy, saying a new management shakeup doesn't go far enough since it leaves the Office of Chairman intact "despite performance that has repeatedly fallen short of peers and certain of their operating targets." Citi shares fell 1.4% to $47.64. Analyst Upgrades: Wachovia upgraded Sprint Nextel ( S) to outperform. The stock is down 9% since last June and is likely within six months of a sustainable turnaround in subscriber growth. On Friday, the stock was trading flat at $17.99. Latest Activist Situations: StreetInsider.com's 13D Tracker points to a regulatory filing on Crown Crafts ( CRWS), in which Wynnefield Partners -- a 14.6% shareholder -- disclosed a letter it sent to the company's board of directors. Wynnefield is requesting that the textile maker form an independent committee to consider a sale or merger. Crown Crafts lost 9 cents, or 2.2%, to $4 in recent trading Friday.