Wall Street to Main Street: News, Views and Commentary: May 1, 2006

It is Monday, May 1, 2006, and on the first day of May, there will be massive protests across the United States today in protest of the pending immigration law that would make an illegal immigrant in the United States a felony.

If passed, this bill will have an impact on the US economy. Companies like Tyson Foods (NYSE:TSN), Cargill and Swift have said it will close several beef and pork plants to allow workers to attend the meetings.

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Political front

Now that the deadline has passed, tensions are mounting regarding Iran and uranium enrichment. Iran said it would cooperate if they weren’t dealing with the United Nations. That sounds a bit suspicious.

Still on Iran, they refuse to enter Baghdad to hunt down and attack Kurds, this just puts a nice spin on our efforts in Iraq and the upcoming conflict in Iran.

China could open doors for more IPOs

The China Securities Regulatory Commission has issued an indication that they will once again open the doors to additional public offerings. This is almost a year since China put the brakes on new offerings, in a statement that came out of their office, they said fundraising, including IPOs, will resume on market-oriented terms. The only concern is that funds will rotate out of existing public companies to roll into the IPOs.

Movers and Shakers

Some key risers in Friday’s trading session included Amerigroup Corp (NYSE: AGP) which moved up $3.87 to close at $25.83, Commscope, Inc (NYSE: CTV) which moved up $4.72 to to close at $33.05, Snap On (NYSE: SNA) which traded up $4.03 to close at $41.50, Agnico Eagle Mines (NYSE: AEM) which traded up $3.19 to close at $6.70, Intuitive Surgical (NASDAQ: ISRG) which surged $23.83 to close at $127.00, Ventana Medical Systems (NASDAQ: VNMI) traded up $7.90 to close at $48 .70 and Advent Software (NASDAQ: ADVS) trading $3.82 to close at $35.20.

Upgrades/downgrades for analysts

Recent Analyst upgrades include Mcafee, Inc (NYSE: MFE) being upgraded to a Buy from a Neutral by Janney Montgomery, Wachovia Corp (NYSE: WB) being upgraded to an Outperform from an In-Line by Goldman Sachs, Anaren Microwave (NASDAQ: ANEN) which was upgraded to a Buy from a Neutral by Pacific Growth Equities, Omnicell, Inc (NASDAQ: OMCL) and Cooper Cameron Corporation (NYSE: CAM) which was upgraded to a Strong Buy from a Buy to an Outperform of a Market Perform by Raymond James.

Recent analyst downgrades include KB Home (NYSE:KBH) was downgraded to Neutral from a Buy by Janney Montgomery, Pulte Corporation (NYSE:PHM) was downgraded to Neutral from a Buy by Janney Montgomery, The Ryland Group (NYSE:RYI) was downgraded to Neutral from a Buy by Janney Montgomery and Landec Corp (NASDAQ: LNDC) was downgraded to Neutral from a Buy by Sidoti & Co.

Recent Analyst Coverage Initiations include Qualcomm (NASDAQ: QCOM) which was started with a Buy rating and $63 price target by Lazard Capital Markets and Leap Wireless (NASDAQ: LEAP) which was started with an Overweight rating and $54 price target by Morgan Stanley .

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Time bits

Hartford Financial Services (NYSE: HIG) surged to $91.93 as others in their sector were hit hard last week. The company reported better-than-expected earnings due to strong sales of products such as variable annuities and mutual funds. They also gave better earnings guidance for the full year. They could be dragged down during today’s trading session as they may be bundled with Humana (NYSE:HUM) as they report earnings. Similar to when Aetna (NYSE: AET) dragged the sector down last week.

Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX) dipped below $30 as they closed at $1.65 to close at $29.64. This is due to their dilutive shareholders with a secondary offering of 3.5 million shares. We initially liked Netflix in their niche industry, but the secondary offering and dilution factor put us on the sidelines as it will affect both their revenue and shareholder value.

The banks made a nice move last week as Citigroup (NYSE:C), JP Morgan Chase (NYSE:JPM) and Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) rose to the occasion as Citigroup closed $1.80 to close at $ 49.95, JP Morgan Chase closed up $1.43 to close at $45.38 and Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) closed up 88 cents to close at $49.92.

Intuitive Surgical jumped more than 23 percent as the stock rose $23.83 to close at $127.00 on Friday.

Overstock.com (NASDAQ: OSTK) fell $2.84 to close at $25.88 after a larger first-quarter loss. I wonder if this recent drop can be attributed to the shorts, as Patrick Byrne has argued time and time again.

Wall Street Corner with Larry Oakley

The “Elder Statesman of Financial Writers” Larry Oakley focuses on Pacific Rim Mining Corp. (AMEX: PMU)

FURIOUS FIVE

This is the first of our “Furious Five” companies to excel in their industry in 2006. Our first addition to this week’s Furious Five is American Eagle Outfitters (NASDAQ: AEOS) which trades on the Nasdaq under the symbol AEOS.

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We can’t stress enough that investors should do their due diligence, call the companies, get the information, see your investment advisor and if you don’t have one, consider getting one. Spend as much time researching these companies as you would if you were going to buy a new television, it’s just for your protection. When it comes to low traded securities, spread your orders or place a limit order to avoid a run-up.

NAMC Newswire note

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NAMC Newswire

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