Tech Premarket: Facebook, Cisco, Apple

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Facebook ( FB), which hosts a major press event at its headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif., on Tuesday, was a big gainer in premarket trading.

Shares of Facebook rose 1.73% to $32.27 before market open on Monday, as attention focused again on the social networking phenomenon. Facebook was also the most active premarket Nasdaq stocks on share volume of 601,433.

Deutsche Bank upgraded Facebook to buy from hold on Monday, and raised its price target to $40 from $24, citing improving prospects in 2013.

"We still think a 'one quarter at a time' approach is warranted given heightened expectations and all the potential revenue opportunities, but the future looks bright," wrote Deutsche Bank analyst Ross Sandler.

TheStreet will be attending and live-blogging Facebook's press event from 12:30 p.m. EST on Tuesday:

Cisco ( CSCO) was another gainer in premarket trading on Monday, boosted by upgrades from Baird Equity Research and William Blair.

Shares of Cisco rose 1.03% to $20.69 after Baird upgraded the company to outperform and raised its price target to $25 from $21.

"Our channel checks indicate that Cisco is executing very well amidst a challenging macro," wrote Baird analyst Jayson Noland, in a note. "We believe the company has emerged stronger post its restructuring efforts, and we see less gross margin downside going forward than experienced in recent years."

Noland added that Cisco is Baird's "best large-cap idea" for 2013.

William Blair upgraded Cisco to outperform from market perform on Monday, noting that the networking giant is moving past its "midlife crisis."

"We believe the company has emerged from a difficult, soul-searching period significantly leaner, focused, and more self-aware," wrote William Blair analyst Jason Adler, in a note. Cisco, he added, has recommitted to its core switching and routing businesses, exited the consumer business, restructured its costs, reduced management bureaucracy and given realistic financial goals to Wall Street. The analyst also pointed to Cisco's decision to join tech's dividend payers as a positive.

HP ( HPQ) was another gainer, rising 1.61% to $16.42 after JP Morgan upgraded the No. 1 PC maker to neutral from underweight and raised its price target to $21 from $15.

The tech giant's currently in the throes of a major restructuring effort as CEO Meg Whitman attempts to get the company back on track.

"With HP, our view is that the headline news just cannot get much worse," wrote analyst Mark Moskowitz. "A positive turnaround in the model is likely to be measured in years, though, and we continue to think that HP faces an uncertain growth profile."

Sprint ( S), however, was a premarket laggard following downgrades from JP Morgan and UBS. The telecom giant's stock was down 2.2% to $5.79.

JP Morgan downgraded Sprint to neutral from overweight, citing decelerating revenue, even after its merger with Softbank .

"While we continue to believe that Sprint has the assets and now financial backing to succeed in the wireless space, 2013 looks like a year of heavy capital investment and uncertain subscriber momentum," wrote analyst JP Morgan analyst Philip Cusick. "With more downside than upside risk for the next 3-6 months we prefer to back away at this level and may look to come back later in the year."

UBS also downgraded Sprint to neutral from buy. Analyst John Hodulik warned that the company's shares could remain range bound in the near term given expectations for lower fourth-quarter profitability, lower EBITDA and higher capital expenditure outlook in 2013, as well uncertainty about the company's merger with Clearwire ( CLWR).

Apple ( AAPL) was another premarket laggard, falling 3.42% to $502.5 on share volume of 334,478.

Research In Motion ( RIMM), shares, however, gained 0.37% to $13.61 on share volume of 165,832.

--Written by James Rogers in New York.

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