Change in Ratings

Best Buy ( BBY) upgraded at Goldman Sachs to Neutral from Sell based on lower competition from Circuit City ( CC), cost-cutting efforts, balance sheet strength and valuation. Believe margins may decline further, but valuation discounts some issues. Price target at $28.

Cisco Systems ( CSCO) upgraded at Morgan Keegan from Market Perform to Outperform. Company is well-positioned for the downturn, including its strong balance sheet.

Cablevision ( CVC) upgraded at Citigroup from Sell to Buy. $23 price target. Company needs a lot of cash, but has ample liquidity.

Deere ( DE) downgraded at Morgan Stanley from Overweight to Equal-weight. 2009 estimates also cut, as lower access to credit across the globe could hurt demand.

Intel ( INTC) downgraded at Goldman Sachs to Neutral from Buy. Believe margins have already peaked for current business cycle, and note historical correlation between margins and share price for deep cyclicals. Price target at $18.

Kraft Foods ( KFT) upgraded at UBS to Buy from Neutral. Maintains 2008 EPS estimates of $1.91 and $33 price target.

MDC ( MDC) upgraded at Citigroup from Hold to Buy. $37 price target. Valuation call. Strong balance sheet provides downside protection.

MetLife ( MET) downgraded at Goldman Sachs to Neutral from Buy based on potential for losses on topical asset portfolio, reducing company's $7 billion capital cushion. Note potential negative impact on book value from asset write-downs. Price target lowered to $38 from $42.

Monster Worldwide ( MNST) downgraded at Citigroup from Buy to Hold. $14 price target. Estimates also cut, to reflect deteriorating global conditions.

Prudential ( PRU) downgraded at Goldman Sachs to Sell from Neutral based on exposure to residential and commercial mortgage backed securities and commercial real estate loans. Believe Prudential may have to recognize up to $4 billion of impairments, vs. $1 billion capital position. See possibility for dilutive capital raise. Price target cut to $40 from $58.

Pactiv ( PTV) downgraded at Merrill from Buy to Underperform. Estimates also cut, to reflect expected pension obligations. $20 price target.

Transocean ( RIG) upgraded at Morgan Stanley from Underweight to Overweight. $150 price target. There are few deepwater rigs in the pipeline, which will make Brazil short of supply.

Stillwater Mining ( SWC) downgraded at J.P.Morgan to Neutral based on negative outlook for metal prices. Note absence of further power supply problems in South Africa, which means that palladium production should increase and help drive prices lower.

Symantec ( SYMC) upgraded at Oppenheimer to Outperform. $20 price target. Valuation call, especially given the company's solid balance sheet.

Dentsply ( XRAY) downgraded at Merrill from Neutral to Underperform. $28 price target. Estimates also cut, based on concerning feedback from the ADA annual meeting.

Stock Comments/EPS Changes

Alcoa ( AA) price target lowered at Credit Suisse to $20 from $24 due to lower global aluminum price forecasts. 2009 estimates cut to $1.50 from $2. Note attractive valuation and maintained Outperform rating.

Danaher ( DHR) numbers lowered at UBS. 2008 EPS estimates lowered to $4.32 from $4.40. Price target lowered to $72 from $87. Maintains Buy rating.

Freeport-McMoRan ( FCX) price target slashed at Credit Suisse to $52 from $130 due to lower copper prices. Note that longer-term supply-constraints are still significant and likely to keep copper prices above historic averages. Maintained Outperform rating.

Honeywell ( HON) numbers lowered at UBS. 2008 EPS estimates lowered to $3.77 from $3.85. Price target lowered to $32 from $44. Maintains Neutral rating.

Schlumberger ( SLB) numbers lowered at Jefferies. 2008 EPS estimates lowered to $4.75 from $4.85. Lowers price target to $81 from $96. Maintains Buy rating.

Tupperware ( TUP) numbers lowered at Jefferies. 2008 EPS estimates lowered to $2.57 from $2.70. Price target lowered to $35 from $51. Maintains Buy rating.

Watsco ( WSO) numbers cut at Morgan Stanley. Shares now seen reaching $31. Estimates also cut, given cooler summer weather and a sluggish U.S. consumer. Underweight rating.

Yahoo! ( YHOO) price target lowered at Jefferies to $23 from $26. Maintains 2008 EPS estimates of $0.72 and Buy rating.

Strategy Calls/Market Calls

Four major oil stocks downgraded at Deutsche Bank. Marathon ( MRO) and Hess ( HES) were downgraded to Hold, Deutsche Bank said. Ratings on ConocoPhillips ( COP) and Murphy ( MUR) were cut to Sell, based on expectations for a global recession in 2009. Expect oil prices around $58-$60 through 2010.

Natural gas E&P numbers cut at Morgan Stanley. Lower commodity prices and the tight credit market will cut into energy E&P earnings. Production should be flat in 2009. Price targets were also lowered across the board. Attractive industry rating, with XTO ( XTO), Ultra Petroleum ( UPL) and EOG ( EOG) as top picks.

This article was written by a staff member of TheStreet.com.

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