Equity Brief: Ratings Changes for December 7th: ABCO, ADBE, AET, ALV, ALXN, AMRN, ATHN, ATML

Fri Dec 7, 2012 10:05am EST

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

Janney Montgomery Scott initiated coverage on shares of Advisory Board Co (ABCO). They issued a buy rating on the stock.

Zacks reiterated its neutral rating on shares of Adobe Systems (ADBE). They have a $37.00 price target on the stock. Zacks' analyst wrote, "Adobe's third quarter earnings missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate on lower revenue, particularly due to increased adoption of the new subscription model. The subscription service will hurt Adobe's financial growth in the short term, as it brings in revenues on a monthly basis, instead of a lump sum at the start. However, the solid adoption of Creative Cloud will act as a potential catalyst going forward. We remain optimistic about Adobe's market position, compelling product lines, continued innovation, the Efficient Frontier acquisition and its strong balance sheet. We are therefore reiterating our Neutral rating on Adobe shares."

JPMorgan Chase upgraded shares of Aetna Inc. (AET) from a neutral rating to an overweight rating. JPMorgan Chase now has a $52.00 price target on the stock, up previously from $46.00. They wrote, "We are upgrading Aetna to Overweight from Neutral and raising our price target from $46 to $52 on the expectation of upwardly revised numbers post CVH deal closing, AET's below-average reform exposure and most importantly an increasing recognition of the company's ACO positioning. From a catalyst perspective, at next Wednesday's investor day we expect initial 2013 EPS guidance in the $5.40 range (JPM $5.40, consensus $5.51), within the range of investor expectations."

Pareto Securities upgraded shares of AUTOLIV INC (ALV) from a hold rating to a buy rating. They wrote, "Autoliv's increased emerging market exposure, and particularly market share gains in China, makes us confident that Autoliv is set to outpace an overall muted global auto market in 2013. In addition, solid growth in active safety supports our confidence in abovemarket growth. . In view of Autoliv's solid market growth and prospects of outperforming overall market growth with sustained margins, we see clear upside in the share as it is trading at a 25% discount to its historical forward-looking EV/EBIT multiple of around 8x."

DNB Markets initiated coverage on shares of AUTOLIV INC (ALV). They issued a buy rating on the stock. They wrote, "As we believe Q4 2012 will mark the trough in profitability at 9%, we focus on the above-market growth we see for Autoliv in the coming years, driven by market share gains in emerging markets and increased sales of active safety products. As we forecast 14% annual EPS growth in the next two years, we find 2013e P/E of 9.5x undemanding."

Citigroup initiated coverage on shares of Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (ALXN). They issued a neutral rating on the stock and set a $104.00 price target. They wrote, "Alexion's Soliris has consistently exceeded expectations since its launch. The drug has become a late stage pipeline on its own and has driven Alexion to be a very successful beat and raise story. Accordingly, Alexion is now trading at a very high P/E multiple that reflects optimistic expectations for upward EPS revisions. If history is a guide, Alexion will need to post significant upside surprises to offset the natural P/E multiple contraction that is likely ahead. While we are optimistic about Soliris' growth, we are only in-line with consensus estimates in the next 2 years. Thus, in the absence of tremendous upside we are worried that the risk/reward profile of the stock is not attractive. We also anticipate that Soliris' label expansion into AHR, MG, and NMO will take 2 years longer than expected. Our doc checks also suggest that Soliris' high price could impede adoption in NMO and MG and limit the market opportunity."

Jefferies Group reiterated its buy rating on shares of Amarin Co. plc (AMRN). They have a $28.00 price target on the stock.

Leerink Swann upgraded shares of AthenaHealth (ATHN) from a market perform rating to an outperform rating.

Lazard initiated coverage on shares of Atmel (ATML). They issued a neutral rating on the stock.

Cantor Fitzgerald downgraded shares of AvalonBay Communities, Inc. (AVB) from a buy rating to a hold rating. Their analysts now have a $142.00 price target on the stock, down previously from $157.00.

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