Analysts' Upgrades, Downgrades: CIT Group

CHANGE IN RATINGS

American Express ( AXP) upgraded at JP Morgan. Rating raised to Neutral from Underweight. Price target raised to $25 from $16. 2009 EPS estimates raised to $1.00 from $0.99.

CIT Group ( CIT) downgraded at Stifel Nicolaus from Hold to Sell. Surprised that talks with the Government fell through, and the company will likely file bankruptcy shortly.

ConocoPhillips ( COP) upgraded at Benchmark from Sell to Hold. Valuation call, pricing in the company's weak growth outlook.

Covance ( CVD) initiated at JPMorgan. Initiated with an Overweight rating and $55 price target. Introduces 2009 EPS estimates of $2.60.

Dr. Pepper Snapple Group ( DPS) initiated at Merrill/BofA with a Buy rating noting margins well above peers and opportunities for brand distribution. Price target set at $27 and 2009 EPS estimate set at $1.77.

Darden Restaurants ( DRI) initiated at Credit Suisse with a neutral rating and price target of $37. Limited downside is seen due to its two primary concepts; stability in net unit growth and balanced guidance for F2010. The co. has excellent operational characteristics, strong value perception, and a large marketing budget which all culminates into a defensive and predictable outlook.

Esterline Technologies ( ESL) upgraded at Credit Suisse to Outperform from Neutral. The co. has strong market share across all the typical late-cycle aero defense markets where 18% of its sales are coming from the comm'l aftermarket. This exposure will allow for future benefits from the near term recovery in spares demand. Increased price target to $43 from $32.

Gannett ( GCI) upgraded at Benchmark from Hold to Buy. $7 price target. Company has cut costs, and advertising declines are slowing down.

Gerdau Ameristeel ( GNA) downgraded at Goldman to Buy from Conviction Buy as the firm continues to expect infrastructure spending which the co. will benefit from. Maintained target price of $9.

Government Properties Income Trust ( GOV) initiated at Merrill/BofA with a Neutral rating. Rapid expansion by the federal government has created unique and strong demand. $20 price target and 2009 EPS estimate set at $2.09.

HRPT Properties ( HRP) downgraded at Merrill/BofA to Underperform from Neutral on valuation. Expected job losses should pressure office rents and occupancy. Maintain $3.75 price target and 2009 EPS rating at $0.99.

ICON ( ICLR) initiated at JPMorgan. Initiated with an Overweight rating and $27 price target. Introduces 2009 EPS estimates of $1.38.

Intel ( INTC) upgraded at Argus to Buy. $20 price target. Company has new, improved earnings momentum and the Windows 7 launch will lead to more buying the PC and server markets.

Knight Transportation ( KNX) initiated at Merrill/BofA with a Buy rating. Analysts said KNX leads industry in efficiency and remains focused on growth. Price target set at $20. 2009 and 2010 EPS estimates set at $0.60 and $0.75, respectively.

Motorola ( MOT) downgraded at Goldman to Neutral from Buy. The co. is approaching its full valuation after significant cost cutting structures which have driven narrower than expected handset losses. Maintain target price of $7.

Marathon Oil ( MRO) downgraded at Benchmark from Buy to Hold. Valuation call.

Microsoft ( MSFT) downgraded at Argus to Sell. Estimates are below consensus, as adoption of Windows 7 will likely take longer than expected.

QLogic ( QLGC) upgraded at ThinkEquity from Accumulate to Buy. $17 price target. Windows 2008 will likely spark a new server purchase cycle.

Raytheon ( RTN) upgraded at Merrill/BofA to Buy as it offers the most upside potential in the defense industry. Maintain $62 price target. 2009 and 2010 EPS estimates set at $4.80 and $5.15, respectively.

Scientific Games Corp ( SGMS) downgraded at Goldman to Neutral from Buy citing the uncertainty of the co.'s Italian lottery contract. Price target lowered to $17 from $22.

Warnaco Group ( WRC) initiated at Barclays with an Overweight rating noting significant long term growth prospects. Price target set at $39. 2009 and 2010 EPS estimates set at $2.75 and $3.00, respectively.

Steel Dynamics ( STLD) upgraded at Goldman to Conviction Buy from Neutral. Cites higher exposure to flat rolled products relative to other mini-mills, low and variable cost structure, further improvement in its raw material position, highest upside potential, and mitigated concerns about their balance sheet and covenants after its issuance of common stock and convertibles. Maintained price target of $21.

STOCK COMMENTS / EPS CHANGES

Abbott Laboratories ( ABT) estimate increased at Barclays to 2009 EPS estimate to $3.72 from $3.71. Maintain Overweight rating and $56 price target.

Abbott Labs ( ABT) target increased at Credit Suisse to $47 from $46 and estimates to $3.66 from $3.65 based on updated market valuation. The co. recently reported inline earnings for Q2 and is becoming more dependent on Humira for growth in the future. Maintained Neutral rating.

Adtran ( ADTN) price target, estimate increased at Barclays to $20 from $17 as new products show strong growth. 2009 EPS estimate cut to $1.19 from $1.20 and 2010 EPS estimate increased to $1.27 from $1.25. Maintain Equal Weight rating.

Constellation Energy ( CEG) numbers raised at UBS through 2010. Expect higher customer supply margins. Neutral rating and new $27 price target.

Salesforce.com ( CRM) fiscal 2011 estimates cut at Morgan Stanley because billings targets appear too high. Company also appears to have underutilized sales capacity. Underweight rating and $28 price target.

Dominion Resources ( D) price target raised at Barclays to $32 from $31. Maintain Equal Weight rating and 2009 EPS estimate at $3.08.

Emerson ( EMR) target cut at Goldman to $34 from $38. Estimates were also reduced for 2009 and 2010 to $2.20 from $2.35 and $1.90 from $1.95 respectively. Cites continued weak order trends in May and increased restructuring efforts. Maintained Neutral rating.

WW Grainger ( GWW) price target and estimates raised at Barclays to $92 from $75 after it reported better than expected 2Q EPS. 2009 EPS estimate lifted to $5.00 from $4.75 and 2010 EPS estimate raised to $5.40 from $4.90. Maintain Equal Weight rating.

Hasbro ( HAS) estimates cut at Barclays through 2010. Expect dilution from the Discovery joint venture. Equal-weight rating and $30 price target.

Health Net ( HNT) target decreased at Credit Suisse to $13 from $18, reflecting its TRICARE award loss announcement for the Northern region. Maintained Neutral rating.

Intuit ( INTU) target increased at Credit Suisse to $33 from $30. The raise in numbers was prompted by the co.'s defensive model as it plans to focus on its core business, invest in connected services, and enter new industries and geographies in order to achieve long-term double digit organic growth. Maintained Outperform rating.

JB Hunt ( JBHT) estimates, target lowered at UBS to $32. Estimates also cut, to reflect the temporary pricing problem. Buy rating.

Kinder Morgan ( KMP) target raised at Goldman to $55 from $53. Cites growth forecasts in incremental cash flow by the expected start of Kinder's major initiatives (REX, MEP). Maintained Neutral rating.

Life Technologies ( LIFE) target, estimates boosted at Barclays to $49 from $45 as it remains Barclay's top pick in the life science tools industry. 2010 EPS estimate increased to $3.19 from $2.90. Maintain Overweight rating and 2009 EPS estimate at $2.65.

Legg Mason ( LM) numbers raised at Goldman to $20 from $18 and estimates for 2010/2011 to $0.94/$1.26 from $0.86/$1.15. The increases were fueled by effectively reducing the firm's leverage in an accretive way, increasing financial flexibility, and valuation. Maintained Neutral rating.

3M ( MMM) target raised at Goldman to $70 from $66. Estimates were also raised for 2009-2011 to $3.75/$4.15/$4.60 from $3.50/$3.90/$4.45. The co. has above average balance sheet optionality driven by strong cash flow and has attractive cyclical exposure. Maintained Neutral rating.

3M ( MMM) price target, estimates increased at Merrill/BofA to $56 from $48.50 on improved currency, strength in respirator masks from Swine Flu, and improved Optical Film business. 2009 EPS estimate raised to $3.90 from $3.70 and 2010 EPS estimate lifted to $4.00 from $3.85. Maintain Underperform rating.

Tyco ( TYC) target raised at Goldman to $32 from $28 as positive earnings momentum is emerging. 2009 EPS estimates were also raised to $2.60 from $2.50. The co. will benefit from a weaker US dollar and restructuring efforts. Maintained Neutral rating.

Xilinx ( XLNX) numbers raised at Goldman to $19 from $17. Better visibility, an expanded multiple, and better efficiency which could drive higher profitability led to the raise in its target. Maintained Neutral rating.

Xilinx ( XLNX) estimates, target raised at Morgan Stanley to $22. Estimates also boosted, to reflect higher sales and a lower tax rate. Underweight rating.

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

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