Alliant Techsystems ( ATK) upgraded at FBR to outperform from market perform with a price target of $136 on fundamental strength and valuation. Note excellent revenue visibility and stable operating income. Choice Hotels ( CHH) upgraded at Bear from underperform to peer perform. The stock has pulled back to an attractive valuation, given the company's growth potential. EI DuPont de Nemours ( DD) upgraded at BB&T, which raised its rating on DD to buy with a $50 price target. BB&T said the stock is down 20% in the past 6 months, and holds significant value. Dividend yield is also solid. DuPont ( DD) upgraded at Deutsche Bank to a buy rating as valuation is compelling in light of growth potential. Echostar ( DISH) upgraded at Bear from underperform to peer perform. Bear Stearns said the stock is 39% off its highs, and is already pricing in increased competition. Freeport-McMoRan ( FCX) upgraded at FBR to outperform from market perform based on valuation. Recent 21% drop creates attractive entry point along with yesterday's Fed cut, economic stimulus package and firm Chinese copper imports. Price target was lowered to $115 from $125. Getty Images ( GYI) upgraded at Deutsche Bank to a hold rating as the stock has been adjusted for structural issues company is facing. Heartland Express ( HTLD) upgraded at Wachovia from market perform to outperform. Wachovia said it was a valuation call and that with a strong balance sheet, the company is set to outperform its peers in a challenging environment. L-3 Communications ( LLL) upgraded at FBR from market perform to outperform with a $115 price target. Stock has yet to come under pressure, but remains one of the best positioned names in the group. Micron ( MU) upgraded at Morgan Stanley from underweight to equal weight, with an $8.50 price target. DRAM capacity appears to be declining, and pricing should improve faster than expected. National Fuel Gas ( NFG) upgraded at Citigroup from sell to hold with a $42 price target. Stock has underperformed its peers this year, but shareholder activists have made unreasonable requests.
Stock Comments/Eps Changes
Apple ( AAPL) price target slashed at Goldman to $175 from $220 following weak quarterly results. Mac sales were inline but iPods came in below expectations. Note focus on Mac and iPhone product cycles going forward. Maintained buy rating. Ambac ( ABK) 2008 estimates cut at Goldman to $2.15 from $7.55 based on lower production following Fitch downgrade, higher losses and further CDO impairments. Price target was lowered to $10 from $14 based on best case/worst case scenarios. AK Steel ( AKS) target price was raised at Goldman to $39 from $37 due to improved balance sheet and better steel prices in 2008. See stock as fully valued. Maintained neutral rating. Bank of America ( BAC) 2008 estimates cut at Deutsche Bank by 10 cents to $4.00 a share. Maintained hold rating, target price cut to $42. Johnson & Johnson ( JNJ) price target lowered at Goldman to $73 from $75. Goldman said Q4 earnings beat expectations thanks to a lower tax rate, but also showed higher spending due to restructuring and legal fees. Maintained buy rating. Sears Holdings ( SHLD) target price raised at Deutsche Bank from $53 to $83 after the company announced changes to operating model. Maintained sell rating.