- Soleil upgraded Baxter (BAX) to buy from hold on expectations the company will benefit from supply disruptions at privately-held plasma manufacturer Octapharma. The firm raised its price target for shares to $56 from $45.
- Deutsche Bank upgraded Dolby (DLB) to buy from hold, citing valuation following the recent underperformance of shares. The firm upped its price target to $75 from $70.
- Bernstein upgraded Alexion (ALXN) to outperform from market perform based on increased Soliris forecasts for PNH and potential in aHUS. The firm also raised its price target to $75 from $60.
- Agrium (AGU) was upgraded to buy from neutral at BofA/Merrill.
- Roche (RHHBY) was upgraded to conviction buy from neutral at Goldman.
- BMO Capital upgraded Energizer (ENR) to outperform from market perform.
According to the Associated Press, adjusted profit of 54 cents per share beat the analyst projection of 49 cents per share. Unfortunately, the next quarterly report could bring a disappointing top line. Management thinks it will do between $950 million and $1 billion in terms of sales; Wall Street wanted a solid $1.03 billion. In addition, Bloomberg says that the company is expecting between 48 cents and 54 cents per share of adjusted earnings for Q4; expectations were for 53 cents per share.
Housing steps into the spotlight again this coming week. The release of the National Association of Homebuilders Housing Market Index starts out the week on Monday morning. Then on Tuesday morning, look for housing starts data from August. Release of the July FHFA House Price Index is scheduled for Wednesday. And numbers for existing home sales and for new home sales in August are due out Thursday and Friday, respectively. Overall, the housing market is expected to have continued to lose momentum in August, but less dramatically than in July.
Also on the economic calendar this week: Tuesday's FOMC meeting on interest rates, the Conference Board's Leading Economic Indicators Index for August on Thursday, initial jobless claims for last week, and durable goods orders data for August on Friday. No significant changes from the Fed are anticipated, but the leading economic indicators may rise a bit.
Since Apple Inc. (AAPL) unleashed the iPhone on the world back in 2007 the company has sold millions of the device and created a massive market for iPhone apps. Developers have invested a lot of time and money in creating apps for the popular iPhone, but have been frustrated by the lack of guidelines and communication with Apple.
Developers have been begging for more insight into the approval process, and today Apple gave them what they wanted by releasing the guidelines it uses to review submitted apps.
Adobe Systems (ADBE - option chain) shares are rising today after after Apple (AAPL) announced it will relax restrictions on development tools used by mobile application developers. The change in policy allows developers to resume using ADBE's Flash software in their apps, which had been effectively banned before the announcement. If you think that the stock won't fall by too much in the coming months, then now could be a good time to look at a bullish hedged trade on ADBE.
The mainstream media is overflowing with hyperventilating bears preaching about a depression. All fear-mongering aside, we see two very positive developments in the U.S. economy: retail and corporate spending.
1. Retail Spending
The International Council of Shopping Centers has announced that retail sales expanded at the highest pace since September 2006. Luxury retailers posted an eye-popping 8% rise in sales. Seems like consumption is our culture. Some people think the U.S. consumer has changed. Personally, I would never bet against the DNA of a tribe ... and ours is shopping. As my brother Derek said, "In the Great Depression we had bread lines. Now, there are Apple (AAPL) iPhone 4 lines." That is a mind-blowing distinction.
Early Financial Fireworks Hit the Markets; Will the U.S. Emerge the Leader in the Second Half of Year?
On Wall Street, uncertainty is certainly a buzz killer for the irrationally exuberant. If you need a towel to wipe away the fog, take a look at Your Cheat Sheet to the Psychology of Market Cycles.
While contemplating where we're headed, let's take a look at some data points that indicate the US has the potential to lead the world out of this recession ...
Dow 10,152.80 -145.64 (-1.41%)
S&P 500 1,073.69 -18.35 (-1.68%)
Nasdaq 2,217.42 -36.81 (-1.63%)
As we noted in our earnings preview yesterday, analysts were expecting to see the company announce earnings of 42 cents per share. Actual earnings were slightly higher at 44 cents per share.
- Oppenheimer upgraded Citigroup (C) to outperform from perform, citing an attractive valuation following the recent pullback in shares. The firm has a $4.58 price target for the stock.
- Macquarie upgraded Transocean (RIG) to to outperform from neutral and has price target of $85 on the stock. The firm believes bad news is already priced into shares.
- JPMorgan upgraded U.S. Bancorp (USB) to overweight from neutral, citing the recent pullback in shares and a lower impact from the financial reform bill. The firm has a $31.50 price target for the stock.
- Boeing (BA) was upgraded to equal weight from underweight at Morgan Stanley.
- Health Net (HNT) was upgraded to buy from hold at Stifel Nicolaus.
- Vale (VALE) was upgraded to overweight from neutral at HSBC.
- Wells Fargo upgraded Universal Health (UHS) to outperform from market perform to reflect the company's potential acquisition of Psychiatric Solutions (PSYS). The firm sees a 60% chance of Universal Health acquiring Psychiatric Solutions and estimates the deal would be accretive.
- Oppenheimer upgraded Lamar Advertising (LAMR) to outperform from perform following the company's Q1 results and Q2 guidance as it expects growth to pick up in Q3. The firm has a $44 price target for shares.
- UBS upgraded Las Vegas Sands (LVS) to buy from neutral based on valuation and Singapore outlook. The firm raised its price target to $28 from $24.
- Priceline.com (PCLN) was upgraded to buy from hold at ThinkEquity.
- Alcoa (AA) Was upgraded to outperform from market perform at BMO Capital.
- Brookfield Asset Management (BAM) was upgraded to outperform from neutral at Credit Suisse.
Here are some highlights from this past week's earnings coverage on BloggingStocks:
- Adobe Systems Inc. (ADBE) reported that Q1 revenue was up but earnings declined sharply, and it offered guidance.
- Best Buy Inc. (BBY) shares rallied after it topped Q4 earnings expectations and offered encouraging guidance.
- Brinker International Inc. (EAT) raised its outlook for fiscal 2010 and also increased its quarterly dividend.
- China Automotive Systems Inc. (CAAS) reported that its revenue had doubled and it beat earnings expectations.
- ConAgra Foods Inc. (CAG) Q3 earnings matched estimates and revenue was flat, and it reaffirmed its outlook.
- Finish Line Inc. (FINL) shares rallied after it reported that Q4 earnings came in better than analysts' expected.
But looking ahead, things should improve nicely. According to its guidance, Adobe expects to post earnings of $0.39 to $0.44 per share in Q2. Revenues are forecast at $875 million to $925 million. The estimate from Reuters was for earnings of $0.41 per share and revenues of $860 million.
People who have the entrepreneurial spirit are familiar with the unique adrenaline rush that comes from the live-or-die risk of starting a business. For many, small business is a way of life that represents long hours and near-obsessive passion. With all the pressure and time constraints riding on a small business, what are the five best software applications that can greatly help these start-ups or modest operations? There are definitely some critical software choices that make a small business more efficient and more effective. And better yet, three of them are free.