CHANGE IN RATINGSAmbac Financial ( ABK) downgraded at Friedman, Billings Ramsey from Outperform to Market Perform. Stock lacks catalysts, and will likely fall while credit quality is deteriorating. $50 price target. Advanta ( ADVNB) downgraded at FBR from Outperform to Market Perform. $17.50 price target. Company posted a large earnings miss, and is likely to experience greater-than-expected credit deterioration. Aetna ( AET) upgraded at Citigroup to Buy. $66 price target. Estimates also raised, as the company's commercial insurance losses have stabilized. Franklin Resources ( BEN) downgraded at FBR to Market Perform. $134 price target. Company is posting strong sales growth, but the company is struggling to produce operating leverage with its current sales mix. Borg Warner ( BWA) upgraded at Deutsche to Buy from Hold. Cites one of the few in industry that fundamentals support double digit top line and bottom line growth long-term. Raised target price to $115 from $97. Choice Hotels ( CHH) downgraded at Wachovia to Underperform from Neutral. Cites potential risk to estimates considering company is trading at a richer valuation compared to peers. Comcast ( CMCSA) downgraded at CIBC to Sector Perform. Company posted poor third quarter results, as telecom competition is heating up. Cummins ( CMI) upgraded at Citigroup to Hold from Sell. Cites sharp sell-off brings valuation back in-line. Raised target price to $126 from $85.
Columbia Sportswear ( COLM) downgraded at Merrill Lynch to Neutral from Buy. Cites spring bookings were basically flat and margin pressures are expected following inline quarterly results. DeVry ( DV) upgraded at Bear to Outperform. Company is growing sales faster than expected, while managing to keep a lid on costs. Estimates also raised. $50 price target. DeVry upgraded at William Blair to outperform and raises 2008-2009 EPS estimates. Emulex ( ELX) downgraded at FBR to Market Perform. Stock has passed the $22 price target, and is already pricing in solid results through the end of the year. Corporate Exec. Board ( EXBD) upgraded at Deutsche from Hold to Buy. $85 price target. Sales force is back on track, and the company's business should re-accelerate heading into 2008. General Mills ( GIS) upgraded at Deutsche from Hold to Buy. $64 price target. Company is trading at a low valuation, and new products should help drive pricing growth. New CEO also likely to improve the portfolio. Kindred Healthcare ( KND) upgraded at Jefferies to Buy rating from Hold. Price target lifts to $26 from $22 and FY2008 EPS estimates upped to $1.25 from $1.23. Level 3 Comm. ( LVLT) downgraded at JP Morgan to Neutral. Company posted a disappointing quarter and cut forward guidance. Stock also cut from the focus list. MBIA ( MBI) downgraded from Outperform to Market Perform at Friedman, Billings Ramsey. Stock lacks near-term catalysts and will likely suffer as credit quality deteriorates. $50 price target.
Blue Nile ( NILE) upgraded at Citigroup to Hold rating from Sell. Price target and 2008 EPS estimates hold at $88 and $1.35. Power Integration ( POWI) downgraded at Citigroup to Hold rating from Buy. Price target lifts to $34 from $32 while 2008 EPS estimates lowered to $1.06 from $1.55. Providence Service ( PRSC) downgraded at Jefferies to Hold rating from Buy. Price target and FY 2008 EPS estimates hold at $33 and $1.48, respectively. Steel Dynamics ( STLD) downgraded at UBS to Neutral rating from Buy. Price target and FY2008 EPS estimates hold at $54 and $5.25, respectively. Timken ( TKR) downgraded at Merrill from Buy to Neutral. Company posted disappointing third quarter results, and it no longer appears that the auto business is poised to recover. Estimates also cut through 2009. Trident Microsystems ( TRID) downgraded at Deutsche from Buy to Hold. $11 price target. Growth has stalled in the LCD TV market. Estimates also cut, to match the company's new guidance. Trident Microsystems downgraded at Jefferies to Hold rating from Buy. Price target slashed to $9 from $20 and FY2008 EPS estimates drop to $0.98 from $1.18. Wal-Mart ( WMT) upgraded at Merrill Lynch from sell to neutral on continuation of store labor productivity gains.
STOCK COMMENTS / EPS CHANGESCelestica ( CLS) target price raised at Credit Suisse to $6 from $5. Cites good start following positive Q3 results but remains cautious. Maintained Underperform rating.
McAfee ( MFE) target price raised at Credit Suisse to $47 from $45 after Q3 results beat estimates. Cites company still trades at a significant discount to software group. Maintained Outperform rating Microsoft ( MSFT) numbers raised at UBS. Price target lifts to $40 from $37 and FY 2008 EPS estimates upped to $1.80 from $1.72. Reiterates Buy rating. Microsoft target raised at Goldman to $39 from $37 following strong Q1 results. Continue to expect momentum from multiple product cycles including Office 2007, Windows Server 2008 and Vista driving solid top-line growth over next two years. Maintained Buy rating. Terex ( TEX) 2007 estimates trimmed at Goldman to $5.76 from $5.80 based on more conservative view of aerial work platform demand in North America. Disappointing Q3 results reflect fact that seemingly no machinery company can escape slower U.S. growth. Price target reduced to $96 from $100 but maintained Buy rating. WellCare Health ( WCG) target price slashed at Credit Suisse to $50 from $110 after company announced that it is being investigated by the government. Maintained Neutral rating until additional information is provided. MEMC Electronics ( WFR) numbers raised at UBS. Price target lifts to $85 from $77 and FY 2008 EPS estimates upped to $4.10 from $3.90. Reiterates Buy rating.