Change in Ratings

CGG Veritas ( CGV) downgraded at Jefferies to Hold from Buy. Price target lowered to $13.50 from $44.00. Lowers EPS estimates to $3.38 from $3.42.

Choice Hotels ( CHH) upgraded at J.P. Morgan to Neutral from Underweight based on valuation, strengthening balance sheet and less negative operating leverage. Low visibility on forward travel trends should remain an issue, but see even risk-reward within coverage universe.

Embarq ( EQ) downgraded at Jefferies to Hold from Buy. Price target lowered to $35 from $68. Lowers 2008 EPS estimates to $5.03 from $5.17.

Ralcorp ( RAH) downgraded at Credit Suisse to Neutral from Outperform based on valuation. Says stock has outperformed the S&P 500 by 50%, and risk/reward is less attractive. Maintained $72 target price.

Sherwin-Williams ( SHW) downgraded at J.P. Morgan to Neutral from Overweight based on decreasing paint volumes and relative valuation. Note that large-cap peers trade at significantly lower multiples with lower earnings risk. Price target lowered to $50 from $65.

Stock Comments/EPS Changes

Arch Coal ( ACI) target cut at Goldman to $22.50 from $30. Q3 results came in below expectations due to weak pricing environment. Long-term, expect declining earnings trends due to economic slowdown. Maintained Neutral rating.

Aflac ( AFL) price target reduced at Goldman to $53 from $62 based on lower valuations in life insurance universe and gradual slowing of future earnings growth. Note attractive valuation, as shares are trading near trough multiples based on price/earnings and price/book. Maintained Buy rating.

Atheros ( ATHR) estimates, target lowered at Morgan Stanley. Shares now seen reaching $21. Estimates also cut, to reflect the broad macro slowdown. Company remains well-positioned in growth markets. Overweight rating.

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