Up/Downgrades (MDRX, CRL, DHI, MTH, XOM, HPY, HSY, ODFL, RECN, SPF, WTR, BBT, CHKP, CMA, DG, MDC, TOL, WAT, XEL)
Published on Thursday, 06 January 2011 07:04 Written by Danny Miller
New York, January 6th (TradersHuddle.com) – Following are some of the top upgrades and downgrades before the market open.
Allscripts Healthcare Solutions (NASDAQ:MDRX) was upgraded to a Buy from Hold at Deutsche Bank.
Charles River Labs (NYSE:CRL) was downgraded to a Hold from Buy at Deutsche Bank.
D.R. Horton (NYSE:DHI) and Meritage Homes (NYSE:MTH), the homebuilders, were upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at Wells Fargo.
Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM), the largest U.S. energy producer, was upgraded to Outperform from Perform at Oppenheimer.
Heartland Payment Systems (NYSE:HPY) was upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at Wells Fargo.
Hershey (NYSE:HSY), the chocolate maker, was upgraded to a Buy from Neutral at Janney Montgomery Scott.
Old Dominion Freight (NASDAQ:ODFL) was upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at Wells Fargo.
Resources Connection (NASDAQ:RECN) was upgraded to Outperform from Neutral at Robert W. Baird. The firm raised its target price to $24 from $16, noting revenue growth accelerated materially and was well above its estimate/consensus and expense management remains excellent, leading to a sizable EBITDA/EPS beat.
Standard Pacific (NYSE:SPF) was upgraded to Market Perform from Underperform at Wells Fargo.
Aqua America (NYSE:WTR) was downgraded to a Neutral at Robert W. Baird. The firms set its target price at $24, as it recommends an overweighting in water utilities were EPS growth benefits from accelerated infrastructure investment.
BB&T (NYSE:BBT), the Winston Salem, NC based regional bank, was downgraded to Underperform from Neutral at Credit Suisse.
Check Point Software (NASDAQ:CHKP), the Israeli based security software solutions provider, was downgraded to a Neutral from Outperform at Macquarie. The firm believes the risk/reward is fairly balanced at current levels and 2011 estimates are realistic. It says they maintain their positive bias towards Check Point as one of the better run companies in software, and expect it will continue to benefit from a number of cyclical and secular factors.
Comerica (NYSE:CMA), the financial services holding company based in Dallas, Texas, was downgraded to a Sell from Hold at Citigroup.
Dollar General (NYSE:DG), the operator of discount retail stores, was downgraded to a Neutral from Buy at Nomura.
MDC Holdings (NYSE:MDC) was downgraded to Underperform from Market Perform at Wells Fargo.
Toll Brothers (NYSE:TOL), the luxury homebuilder, was downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at Wells Fargo.
Waters (NYSE:WAT), the high-performance liquid chromatography products and services provider, was downgraded to a Hold from Buy at Deutsche Bank. Waters was also downgraded to a Hold from Buy at Auriga U.S.A. saying they continue to believe in the company’s leadership position and newly refreshed product portfolio leave it competitively well positioned within the tools space. However, the firm notes that shares are rapidly approaching their $85 price target.
Xcel Energy (NYSE:XEL), the electric and natural gas services provider, was downgraded to a Neutral at Robert W. Baird. The firm set its target price at $25, as solid sector stock price support has moved most utility stocks to expected full value despite valuation benefit from lower dividend tax rate. The firm maintains its near-term Neutral sector outlook but upside is possible if clarity emerges around US energy policy, potentially in the first half of the year.
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