Abercrombie & Fitch, Oracle and Aflac Price Targets Cut; Bristol-Myers Squibb Buys Inhibitex

Acorda Therapeutics (NASDAQ:ACOR) expects its sales of Ampyra to rise from $255M to $275M in 2012, due to successful marketing efforts. This is up from $210M last year, and because of this MKM Partners upgraded its rating on Acorda from Neutral to Buy, changing its price target from $26 to $32.

Canaccord Genuity has upgraded Impax Labs (NASDAQ:IPXL) from Hold to Buy with a price target of $28. This upgrade spawned a buying flurry which has lead to a 6-month high.

AFLAC (NYSE:AFL) is receiving a reduced price target from $39 to $34, cut to Sell from Neutral at UBS, due to overexposure to Europe, which remains despite de-risking efforts.  Additionally, the potential for decelerating EPS growth at the insurer was flagged by UBS. The company is exposed to slow share buybacks should siginificant European credit losses materialize.

Following Friday’s Q4 earnings warning, IPC The Hospitalist (NASDAQ:IPCM) extends its losses, down from a 21.6% premarket. Adding to this, Jefferies downgrades IPC to Hold from Buy, and a reduced price target of $40. Finally, Dougherty & Company did the same, downgrading IPC from Buy to Neutral, and the target price from $56 to $41.

Brean Murray has cut Abercrombie & Fitch (NYSE:ANF) to Hold, changing the price target to $70. Weak holiday sales and high discounting from its peers, as well as international economic uncertainty impacting on its sales was cited by Abercrombie.

Due to lowered earnings season expectations (analysts now predict Q4 S & P 500 earnings growth at 7.2%, half October’s estimate), BMO Capital Markets downgraded Oracle (NASDAQ:ORCL) from Outperform to Market Perform, and changed its price target from $32 to $30.

Looking to boost its pipeline before it loses its patent protection for its blood thinner Plavix, Bristol-Myers Squibb (NYSE:BMY) agreed over the weekend to buy Inhibitex (NASDAQ:INHX) for $2.5 billion. More than doubling Inhibitex’s Friday close of $9.87, the $26/share bid is despite its main drug for hepatitis C being only in stage trials. Consequently, Robert W. Baird downgraded its rating to Neutral from Outperform and changed its price target from $15 to $26.

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