CHANGE IN RATINGS

Aeropostale ( ARO) rated new Market-weight at Thomas Weisel. $28 price target. Valuation call, as the company has been taking market share, while others are struggling.

American Express ( AXP) downgraded at J.P. Morgan to Underweight from Overweight based on prolonged earnings pressure caused by decreased consumer spending. Note that company is likely to face declines in billed business and charge-offs through 2010. Price target at $10.50.

Salesforce.com ( CRM) downgraded at Morgan Stanley to Underweight. $28 price target. There are risks to billing growth, while operating metrics are deteriorating and cash flow is falling.

Dean Foods ( DF) downgraded at Credit Suisse to Neutral from Outperform based on valuation. Stock now trades in-line with packaged food peers. Lowered target price to $22 from $20.

Hewlett-Packard ( HPQ) rated new Outperform at RBC Capital. $39 price target. Company should be able to outperform in this difficult environment.

Hershey's ( HSY) downgraded at Credit Suisse to Underperform from Neutral based on valuation and weak volume sales. Lowered target price to $30 from $34.

Linear Technology ( LLTC) upgraded to overweight from equal weight with a $28 price target at Thomas Weisel. Analyst believes that orders will continue to stabilize and reach more normalized levels in June quarter. Additionally, LLTC has underperformed its higher beta peers and analyst believes that it could emerge from the current downturn more competitive than before.

Nuance Communications ( NUAN) downgraded at Goldman Sachs to Neutral from Buy. Shares are just below $11 price target, limiting upside. Note company's favorable position in speech recognition software and expect margins to improve during 2009.

Pepsi ( PEP) upgraded at UBS from Neutral to Buy. $60 price target. Cost inflation should moderate by the fourth quarter, and sales trends are improving.

Pentair ( PNR) rated new Equal-weight at Barclays Capital. $20 price target. Company has seen a sharp downturn in orders, but still holds attractive franchises.

Research in Motion ( RIMM) rated new Hold at Kaufman Brothers. $50 price target. Company is experiencing margin compression.

Research in Motion ( RIMM) downgraded at J.P. Morgan with an Underweight rating due to inevitable declines in average sales prices and growing R&D expenses. Believe that company has reached peak earnings power, but growth rate will slow over the next 18 months as enterprise net adds fall victim to rising unemployment. Price target at $40.

Western Digital ( WDC) upgraded at Goldman Sachs to Buy from Neutral based on presence in faster-growing areas such as 2.5" notebook HDD and branded retail. Expect hard drive channel inventory snapback in the short-term, with potential intermediate-term increases in demand. Price target raised to $22 from $20.50.

Williams-Sonoma ( WSM) downgraded at Barclays Capital from Equal-weight to Underweight. $8 price target. Stock is up 150% since November, which doesn't factor several risks the company faces.

STOCK COMMENTS / EPS CHANGES

Carnival ( CCL) estimates increased through 2010 at UBS. European bookings are holding up well, and the company is keeping a tight lid on expenses. Buy rating and $28 price target.

Commercial Metals ( CMC) estimates lowered through 2010 at UBS. Company posted good free cash flow, despite posted loss that was driven by charges. Buy rating and new $19 price target.

Kellogg ( K) target cut at Credit Suisse to $44 from $50 based on volume concerns which will likely lead to slower growth. Maintained Outperform rating.

Teradyne ( TER) estimates, target lowered at UBS through 2010. Company cut guidance because of poor visibility in the chip test market, though other trends appear to be improving. Buy rating and new $5.50 price target.
This article was written by a staff member of TheStreet.com.

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