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Equity Brief: Ratings Changes for December 21st: KBH, KLAC, KMX, KR, LEAP, MA, MCD, MDCO



2012-12-21 16:26:01 -


A number of stocks were upgraded and downgraded by equities research analysts
today, as reported by Analyst Ratings Network ( bit.ly/equitybriefdaily)
and Equity Brief:

Williams Capital downgraded shares of KB Home (KBH) from a hold rating to a sell
rating.

Zacks downgraded shares of KLA-Tencor (KLAC) from a neutral rating to an
underperform rating. Their analysts now have a $44.00 price target on the stock.
Zacks' analyst wrote, "KLA is one of the leading suppliers of inspection and
metrology products and services. The company's fiscal first quarter results
missed the Zacks Consensus with forward guidance also disappointing. This was
mainly because KLA is greatly exposed to the foundry segment, which has now been
hit by uncertain demand for mobile devices. However, KLA's comprehensive product
line, cost reduction initiatives and strong balance sheet remain positives that
will generate growth whenever cyclical pressures permit. Of course, the rising
competition and concentrated customer base increase execution risk. We are
downgrading KLAC shares to Underperform, since material increase in revenues is
unlikely in the current environment."

Stifel Nicolaus raised its price target on shares of CarMax, Inc (KMX) from
$36.00 to $43.00. They have a buy rating on the stock.

Zacks reiterated its neutral rating on shares of Kroger (KR). They have a $28.00
price target on the stock.

Zacks reiterated its neutral rating on shares of Leap Wireless (LEAP). They have
a $7.25 price target on the stock. Zacks' analyst wrote, "Leap Wireless posted
mixed financial results for the third quarter of 2012, on the back of spectrum
sale where the bottom line beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate but the top line
missed the same . Strong smartphone portfolio (inclusive of iPhone 5 and 4G
devices) and 4GLTE deployments coupled with attractive plans will drive the
wireless service business for Leap Wireless. However, huge subsidy on iPhone
coupled with stiff competition from other major carriers and highly leveraged
balance sheet will continue to act as headwind for the company going forward."

Argus raised its price target on shares of MasterCard (MA) from $525.00 to
$575.00. They have a buy rating on the stock.

Wells Fargo & Co. initiated coverage on shares of McDonald's (MCD). They issued
an outperform rating on the stock.

JPMorgan Chase upgraded shares of The Medicines Compan (MDCO) from a neutral
rating to an overweight rating. JPMorgan Chase now has a $28.00 price target on
the stock. They wrote, "This morning the company reported earlier-than-expected
positive top-line Phase 3 results from oritavancin's SOLO-1 trial (in acute skin
infections), but the crux of our call is on MDCO's overall risk/reward at
current levels. Indeed, we believe the company's Angiomax franchise plus the
balance sheet is worth nearly $20/sh alone, thus providing a solid value
foundation. Then there's upside optionality from the remaining commercial
portfolio and pipeline, including Recothrom, Cleviprex, cangrelor, oritavancin
and IONSYS. We believe the scarcity of the company's acute-care-hospital-based
infrastructure is also a key component to the story."

Zacks reiterated its neutral rating on shares of The Medicines Compan (MDCO).
They have a $23.00 price target on the stock. Zacks' analyst wrote, "The
Medicines Co. reported third quarter EPS of $0.32, well above the year-ago EPS
of $0.12. We expect Angiomax to continue performing well. The settlement
agreements regarding Angiomax are also positive events. Moreover, we are pleased
to see management actively pursuing in-licensing deals and acquisitions to drive
growth. The AstraZeneca, Bristol-Myers and Incline deals look good to us. We are
also pleased with the signing of the GAIN Act, which should ensure an additional
five years of exclusivity for oritavancin. While we are encouraged by the
company's efforts to develop its pipeline, we were disappointed to hear about
the discontinuation of the development of phase II candidate, MDCO-2010. We
remain Neutral on the stock. We prefer to remain on the sidelines until we see
data on oritavancin and Cangrelor."

Argus downgraded shares of Allscripts Healthcare Solutions (MDRX) from a buy
rating to a hold rating.

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