- Tiffany (TIF) to outperform from perform at Oppenheimer.
- Kellogg (K) to outperform from market perform at Wells Fargo.
- Citizens Republic (CRBC) to outperform from market perform at FBR Capital.
- Research in Motion (RIMM) to equal weight from underweight at Morgan Stanley.
- MWI Veterinary Supply (MWIV) and Elster (ELT) to overweight from neutral at Piper Jaffray.
- Paetec Holding (PAET) and Patterson-UTI Energy (PTEN) to buy from hold at Citigroup.
- New Gold (NGD) to outperform from market perform at BMO Capital.
- Aviat Networks (AVNW) to buy from hold at Needham.
- Abiomed (ABMD) to buy from hold at Jefferies.
- Animal Health (AHII) to outperform from neutral at RW Baird.
- PNM Resources (PNM) to overweight from neutral at JPMorgan.
- Goldman upgraded CSX (CSX) to neutral from sell.
- General Cable (BGC) was upgraded to buy from hold at KeyBanc.
- Morgan Stanley upgraded Chart Industries (GTLS) and Dresser Rand (DRC) to overweight from equal weight.
- Blackrock (BLK) was upgraded to outperform from neutral at Macquarie.
- Credit Suisse upgraded Zions Bancorp (ZION) to neutral from underperform and GameStop (GME) to outperform from neutral.
- Honeywell (HON) was upgraded to outperform from sector perform at RBC Capital.
- Panera Bread (PNRA) was upgraded to buy from neutral at SunTrust.
Patterson-UTI faces resistance just below $17. The stock closed Tuesday at $16.19, up 9.42% during the past month.
Option traders also look like they are preparing for a bearish move on iShares iBoxx $ Invest Grade Corp Bond (LQD). Traders bought 10,043.00 new put option contracts -- 7.92 times the average volume -- on the stock. A full 100% of these trades also came in on the ask price.
The stock closed Tuesday at $111.52, up 1.09% during the past month.
- Deutsche Bank upgraded Illinois Tool Works (ITW) to buy from hold, citing valuation and the company's strong revenue performance. The firm has a $60 price target for shares.
- Goldman upgraded PPD Inc. (PPDI) to buy from hold and raised its price target to $31 from $28. The firm expects strong top line growth and bookings momentum for the upgrade.
- Stifel Nicolaus upgraded Insituform Technologies (INSU) to buy from hold based on higher estimates for sewer rehab and energy. The firm has a $31 target on the stock.
- Patterson-UTI Energy (PTEN) was upgraded to overweight from equal weight at Morgan Stanley.
- Wisconsin Energy (WEC) and Northeast Utilities (NU) were upgraded to buy from neutral at UBS.
- Rockwell Collins (COL) was upgraded to buy from neutral at BofA/Merrill.
- Janney Montgomery upgraded Microsoft (MSFT) to buy from neutral with a $30 price target, citing valuation and expectations for strong Q4 results.
- UBS upgraded SanDisk (SNDK) to buy from neutral based on favorable pricing and mobile design win momentum. The firm raised its target to $55 from $46.
- BMO Capital upgraded Medtronic (MDT) to outperform from market perform based on valuation and its product pipeline. The firm has a $48 price target on the stock.
- Lorillard (LO) and Qualcomm (QCOM) were upgraded to conviction buy from buy at Goldman.
- Monsanto (MON) was upgraded to buy from hold at Citigroup.
- FedEx (FDX) was upgraded to buy from hold at BB&T.
It appears that alternative energy and natural gas companies caught the attention of traders Tuesday -- at least, that's what they're searching for.
If you want to know what stocks traders are interested in right now at this very second, you need look no further than what's hot in Google.
Here's what's hot today:
- Soleil upgraded Thor Industries (THO) to buy from hold after the company said its accounting review will not lead to changes to previously taken accounting positions. The firm raised its target for shares to $45 from $28.
- Citigroup upgraded Family Dollar (FDO) to buy from hold, citing valuation and its positive view on the dollar store industry. The firm upped its target for shares to $47 from $44.
- Wells Fargo upgraded Albany Molecular (AMRI) to outperform from market perform, citing valuation and a stabilizing core business.
- Goldman Sachs (GS) upgraded to overweight from neutral at JPMorgan.
- Patterson-UTI Energy (PTEN) was upgraded to equal weight from underweight at Barclays.
- BP (BP) was raised to buy from hold at RBS.
American Axle (NYSE: AXL) closed at $2.01. AXL entered into a waiver and amendment to the company's credit, facility, which provides the company a waiver of its financial covenants through July 30, 2009. AXL options were active on July 29 with 30,608 contracts trading. AXL August 2.5 straddle is priced at 1.40, October 2.5 straddle is priced at $2.35 suggesting large price movement.
Patterson-UTI Energy (NYSE: PTEN) closed at $14.23. PTEN, an operator of 60 drilling rigs, is expected to report Q2 EPS today. PTEN August option implied volatility is at 55, September is at 49; below its 26-week average of 64. PTEN options were active on July 29 with 6,452 contracts, trading according to Track Data.
Option Update is provided by Stock Specialist Paul Foster of theflyonthewall.com
- Banc of America/Merrill upgraded Lincoln National (NYSE: LNC) to Buy from Underperform and raised its target to $17 from $10 citing expectations that the company will "qualify for and accept TARP funding."
- Credit Suisse upgraded AU Optronics (NYSE: AUO) to Outperform from Neutral as it believes inventory levels are low end demand is better than expected.
- JP Morgan upgraded Shaw Group (NYSE: SGR) to Overweight from Neutral. The firm views the recent pullback in shares as a buying opportunity given the company's attractive nuke position and expected ramp in government spending.
- Patterson-UTI Energy (NASDAQ: PTEN) was upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Goldman.
- Barrick Gold (NYSE: ABX) was raised to Overweight from Market Weight at Thomas Weisel.
- Stryker (NYSE: SYK) was lifted to Sector Perform from Underperform at RBC Capital.
This post is part of a special annual report -- Top Stock Picks '09 -- in which TheStockAdvisors.com asked 75 leading newsletter advisors to select their favorite investment for the new year.
"For the Dividend Superstars Annual Forecast Issue, I screened for companies that had zero debt, single-digit P/Es, recent dividend hikes, payout ratios under 25%, a dividend coverage ratio exceeding 2.
"While it was a tall order, one company jumped to the top of my list: Patterson-UTI. As one of the biggest land-based drillers in North America, the company is highly correlated to demand and prices for that commodity.
"Recently, that hasn't been a good thing, especially because the slowing economy and tight credit has made companies less inclined to drill. The shares have gotten, well, drilled!
"But everything is cyclical. And Patterson-UTI has the financial wherewithal to weather the storm. It also has plenty of money to dole out to shareholders.
While other earnings may have disappointed last week, the news was good for oil giant ConocoPhilips (NYSE: COP). In what some took as a good sign for big oil, the Houston-based company reported that third quarter net income surged 41% year over year to $3.39 per share, and that revenue also surged 52% to $70 billion. We'll see whether the good news extends to other petroleum giants scheduled to report quarterly results this week.
Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial are looking for BP (NYSE: BP) profits to have grown 43.2% in the most recent quarter to $2.34 per share on revenue of $109.7 billion, and Chevron Corp. (NYSE: CVX) to post earnings up 39.4% to $3.25 per share on revenue of $86.8 billion. Marathon Oil Corp. (NYSE: MRO), ExxonMobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM), and Royal Dutch Shell (NYSE: RDS.A) likewise are expected to report higher net income of $2.33 per share (sales of $23.4 billion), $2.40 per share (sales of $131.4 billion), and $2.65 per share, respectively. Even Valero Energy Corp. (NYSE: VLO) is expected to post earnings slightly higher to $1.46 per share (sales of $36.4 billion), despite the effects of Hurricane Ike. Among these companies, only BP and Valero beat earnings expectations in the previous quarter. Not surprisingly, analysts on average recommend buying all except Valero, and shares of all of these companies have recently hit 52-week lows.
- Jefferies upgraded shares of Omnicare (NYSE: OCR) to Buy from Hold and raised their target to $37 from $24.50 following the company's Q2 results to reflect improving earnings visibility.
- Piper upgraded Motorola (NYSE: MOT) to Neutral from Sell following the company's Q2 results to reflect its continued execution in cost management. The firm raised its target to $9 from $7.
- Capital One Southcoast upgraded Patterson-UTI Energy (NASDAQ: PTEN) to Add from Neutral based on additional new builds already under contract and rig reactivations. The firm raised its target to $36 from $32.
- Citigroup downgraded shares of ImClone (NASDAQ: IMCL) to Hold from Buy despite thinking the initial offer from Bristol Myers (BMY) will be raised, as they do not advise chasing shares at current levels. The company's target was raised to $73 from $56.
- First Mercury (NYSE: FMR) and Monster (NASDAQ: MNST) were downgraded at JP Morgan to Neutral from Overweight.
- Jefferies lowered Osiris Therapeutics (NASDAQ: OSIR) to Underperform from Hold.
- PHH Corp (PHH) was initiated with an Outperform rating and $25 target at Keefe Bruyette. The firm finds the stock inexpensive at current levels and believes the company's management team is strong and mortgage operations are improving.
- Baird is positive on VF Corp's (VFC) sales and EPS growth, brand portfolio strength, and global distribution opportunities. Shares were assumed with an Outperform rating and $90 target.
- Stanford started Dialysis Corp of America (DCAI) with a Buy rating and $10 target and believes the company is worth more to a strategic buyer, which they feel could drive revenue per treatment and margins higher.
- Merrill initiated Sherwin-Williams (SHW) with an Underperform rating.
- Vail Resorts (MTN) was assumed with a Buy rating and $59 target at Banc of America.
- Goldman started Patterson-UTI Energy (PTEN) with a Neutral rating and $35 target.
- Lehman upgraded Cott Corp (NYSE: COT) to Equal Weight from Underweight citing recent management changes, a focus on CSD business, and new product discipline.
- Bernstein believes the entire non-life insurance group is oversold and that it is time to buy; the firm upgraded Hartford Financial (NYSE: HIG) and Allstate (NYSE: ALL) to Outperform from Market Perform.
- Valero Energy (NYSE: VLO) was raised to Buy from Hold at Deutsche Bank on valuation with the stock trading at a -30% discount to NAV while the asset market for U.S. refineries is strong.
- Goldman added Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO) to its Conviction Buy List.
- RBC Capital upgraded BJ Services (NYSE: BJS), Halliburton (NYSE: HAL) and Patterson-UTI Energy (NASDAQ: PTEN) to Outperform from Sector Perform.
- Friedman Billings upgraded the Semiconductor Capital Equipment sector to Overweight from Market Weight.
- Merriman initiated shares of Suntech Power (NYSE: STP) with a Buy rating and believes the company is benefiting from strong worldwide demand for solar PV technology. The firm suggests a potential 12-month stock price range of $56-$64.
- Merriman also started shares of First Solar (NASDAQ: FSLR) with a Sell rating, as they believe the company's market is limited to ground-based systems because of its cadmium-based technology, which they feel could lead to environment concerns over time.
- Deutsche Bank resumed coverage of Banco Santander (NYSE: STD) with a Buy rating. The firm is positive on the bank's agreement with ABN Amro (NYSE: ABN) and feels the company has a lack of exposure to risky assets.
- Jefferies believes Internap (NASDAQ: INAP) is well-positioned with its suite of services to address a rapidly growing market, starting shares off with a Buy rating and $20 target.
- Nollenberger believes NetGear (NASDAQ: NTGR) provides a pure-play opportunity to capitalize on the global penetration of broadband connectivity. The firm resumed coverage with a Buy rating and $36 target.
- ThinkEquity initiated Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) with a Buy rating and $800 target and Yahoo! (NASDAQ: YHOO) with an Accumulate rating.
- Banc of America initiated U.S. land drillers, including Grey Wolf (AMEX: GW), Nabors Industries (NYSE: NBR) and Patterson-UTI Energy (NASDAQ: PTEN) with Neutral ratings and Parker Drilling (NYSE: PKD) with a Buy rating.