AIG, Southwest: S&P Gainers

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- A pair of Wall Street upgrades allowed American International Group ( AIG) and Southwest Airlines ( LUV) to buck the bearish trend and end trading as the best-performing stocks in the S&P 500 on Wednesday.

The S&P 500 dropped 14.42 points, or 1.02%, Wednesday to 1,398.96, as the Federal Reserve's "no new quantitative easing" message and renewed Eurozone worries sent the markets into selloff mode.

Shares of American International Group rose 5.34% to $32.52. The insurance company's stock was upgraded by Bernstein Research analysts to outperform from market perform because they think the stock has "50% upside from here."

AIG has an estimated price-to-earnings ratio for next year of 10.88X; the average for full-line insurance companies is 11.62X. For comparison, Hartford Financial Services Group ( HIG) and CNA Financial ( CNA) both have lower forward P/Es of 5.61X and 10.2X, respectively.

Twelve of the 18 analysts who cover AIG rated it hold. Five analysts gave the stock a buy rating and one rated it sell.

TheStreet Ratings gives AIG a C grade and hold rating. The stock has risen 40.17% year to date.

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Southwest Airlines shares increased 2.2% Wednesday to $8.38. Its stock was upgraded to an overweight rating by Barclays analysts and its price target was raised to $13 from $11.

Southwest Airlines' forward P/E is 8.54ZX; the average for airlines is 6.85X. For comparison, Jetblue Airways ( JBLU) has a lower forward P/E of 7.68X; Spirit Airlines' ( SAVE) forward P/E is 8.62X.

Ten of the 18 analysts who cover Southwest Airlines rated it hold. Seven analysts gave the stock a buy rating and one rated it sell.

TheStreet Ratings gives Southwest Airlines a B grade with a buy rating and $9.70 price target. The stock has fallen 2.1% year to date.


Other top-performing S&P 500 stocks Wednesday include:
  • Avon Products (AVP) The stock rose 2.52% Wednesday to $22.75. The stock has increased 30.22% year to date. Earlier this week Avon rejected a $10 billion takeover offer from Coty.TheStreet Ratings gives Avon Products a C grade and hold rating.
  • Gap (GPS): The stock increased 2.3% Wednesday to $26.65. The stock has risen 43.67% year to date. TheStreet Ratings gives Gap a B grade with a buy rating and $30.15 price target.
  • Quanta Services (PWR): The stock rose 2.08% Wednesday to $21.56. The stock has increased two cents, or 0.09%, year to date. TheStreet Ratings gives Quanta Services a B grade with a buy rating and $24.19 price target.
  • Frontier Communications (FTR): The stock increased 1.86% Wednesday to $4.37. The stock has risen 5.56% year to date. TheStreet Ratings gives Frontier Communications a C grade and hold rating.
  • SuperValu (SVU): The stock rose 1.7% Wednesday to $5.39. The stock has fallen 33.62% year to date. TheStreet Ratings gives SuperValu a D+ grade and sell rating.
  • Lorillard (LO): The stock increased 1.64% Wednesday to $135.58. The stock has risen 18.93% year to date. TheStreet Ratings gives Lorillard a B grade with a buy rating and $172.37 price target.
  • Joy Global (JOY): The stock rose 1.59% Wednesday to $75.39. The stock has fallen 15.91% year to date. TheStreet Ratings gives Joy Global a B grade with a buy rating and $84.37 price target.
  • CSX (CSX): The stock increased 1.53% Wednesday to $22.49. The stock has risen 6.79% year to date. TheStreet Ratings gives CSX a B+ grade with a buy rating and $24.94 price target.

-- Written by Alexandra Zendrian

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