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46 Stock Bellwethers on the Move

Taking a look at updated buying and selling opportunities


There is no doubt the upcoming first-quarter earnings announcement season is going to separate the wheat from the chaff. As I mentioned last week, the analyst community expects the average S&P 500 company to post just 1.5% earnings growth in the first quarter. And earnings estimates for S&P 500 companies have been cut by 3.6% in the past month, while the Russell 1000 Growth and Value indices have seen earnings estimates cut by 8.4% and 7.1%, respectively.

Meanwhile, most of the high-quality stocks in my Blue Chip Growth letter have gone the other direction. Our average Blue Chip Growth stock, which is characterized by strong fundamentals and supported by solid buying pressure, has had its earnings revised 1.1% higher in the past month. So there is growing rift between superior A- and B-rated stocks and those that receive C-, D- and F-ratings week in and week out. And as we head into first-quarter earnings season and the thinner summer months, you can bet that it is only going to get wider.

That being said, it’s in our best interest to check Portfolio Grader rankings every week and take note of any changes. So let’s look at the 46 big blue chips that have been upgraded and downgraded this weekend. After taking a close look at the latest data on institutional buying pressure and each company’s fundamental health, I decided to revise my Portfolio Grader recommendations for each of the stocks listed below.


Last Week’s Holds, Now Buys

Symbol Company Name Quantitative Grade Fundamental Grade
AGN Allergan B C
AZN AstraZeneca B C
EPD Enterprise Products B C
GE General Electric B C
GGP General Growth Properties B C
IX Orix B C
RAI Reynolds American B C
VRX Valeant Pharmaceuticals B C

Last Week’s Sells, Now Holds

Symbol Company Name Quantitative Grade Fundamental Grade
AUY Yamana Gold C C
BBBY Bed Bath & Beyond D B
CNCO Cencosud SA D B
DLTR Dollar Tree D B
ENI Enersis S.A. D C
FTI FMC Technologies D C
LO Lorillard D C
MU Micron Technology C C
OKS ONEOK Partners L.P. C D
SWN Southwestern Energy C D
XOM Exxon Mobil D B


Last Week’s Buys, Now Holds

Symbol Company Name Quantitative Grade Fundamental Grade
ACN Accenture C C
CAH Cardinal Health D B
ERIC Ericsson ADR C C
GS Goldman Sachs C A
KORS Michael Kors C A
NMR Nomura B C
OMC Omnicom Group C B
ORCL Oracle C B
ORLY O’Reilly Automotive C B
RTN Raytheon C C
WDC Western Digital C B

Last Week’s Holds, Now Sells

Symbol Company Name Quantitative Grade Fundamental Grade
ALXN Alexion D B
BG Bunge C D
CF CF Industries D B
EC Ecopetrol S.A. D C
ETR Entergy D C
FRX Forest Laboratories C D
HOT Starwood Hotels D C
MS Morgan Stanley D C
PNC PNC Financial D C
VOD Vodafone D C
YUM Yum! Brands D C

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