MORGAN JOSEPH UPGRADES PALM TO BUY FROM HOLD
Morgan Joseph analyst Ilya Grozovsky is enthusiastic about Palm's (PALM) long-awaited Pre phone and is impressed by new Palm webOS, which offers full integration of info from web-based applications such as Facebook, Outlook, and Google. The analyst believes integration is the major differentiation between Palm Pre and other Smartphones.
Grozovsky expects price point to be competitive with iPhone. The analyst also thinks Elevation Ptnrs has proven it not likely to let PALM default on debt obligations, would renegotiate terms if needed. The analyst believes near-term structural issues have been put to bed.
WEDBUSH DOWNGRADES CHILDREN'S PLACE, J.CREW, MEN'S WEARHOUSE
Wedbush analyst Betty Chen says she is downgrading Children's Place (PLCE) and J.Crew Group (JCG) to hold from buy, and Men's Wearhouse (MW) to sell from hold.
For PLCE, she says while she still believes children's retailers should prove more resilient in the current economic downturn given favorable demographics, other factors, she's lowering her model on indications of higher markdowns during holiday season.
She downgrades JCG because its fiscal year 2009 (January) preannouncement yesterday highlighted significant risks to consensus estimates.
For MW, she downgrades on valuation and expectations for higher unemployment.
JEFFERIES UPGRADES HEALTHWAYS TO HOLD FROM UNDERPERFORM
Jefferies analyst Arthur Henderson says Healthways (HWAY) reported in-line fisrt quarter results.
In recent months, Henderson says HWAY and its board have taken dramatic, applaudable steps to shore up operational and financial performance by: hiring President/COO to oversee day-to-day operations; reducing excess operational/call center, human resource capacity; aggressively working to retain (and win) existing (and new) contracts.
Fortunately, he says near-term contract risk appears to be adequately reflected in stock's valuation. He expects HWAY to likely trade within a defined range of $10-$15 for the foreseeable future.