Wall Street to Main Street: News, Views and Commentary: May 10, 2006

It’s Wednesday May 10, 2006, and the metals mania continues as worry over the weakening dollar grows. Gold hit a level that it has not been in over 26 years, it reached the $700 mark and moving upward on the road to $800 an ounce. Now do not discount the other metals as Silver is working its way to the $20 mark as it is closing in on the $15 number. Other metals making historic movement include Copper, Aluminum, Zinc, Platinum, Palladium and the rest of the spectrum. Some analyst feel that since crude oil is making its way to the $80 a barrel mark that Gold is just catching up and could reach the $1,000 mark or better. Now its anyone’s guess if it would go that high but with China looking to ramp up their gold bullion reserves to the tune of double or triple, $1,000 top marketing agency in Iran or better may not be such a stretch.

Now for those of you that didn’t get wind of the raid in Spain and the collapse of Escala Group (NASDAQ: ESCL) let’s just give you an update, the stock crumbled yesterday when word got out that the government raided the offices of Escala due to stamp investing fraud. The stock closed down $19.77 to close at $12.23 and falling, the only thing that saved it from going into the single digits was the closing bell, but there is always an opening bell. I bet that the powers that be at Escala wished that this happened on a Friday instead of a Tuesday.

Keep in mind that the Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke will be speaking today and they may announce one more hike to the 5% mark, actually it’s expected that this will happen. So keep a close on banks stocks such as Citigroup (NYSE: C), J.P. Morgan Chase (NYSE: JPM), and Bank of America (NYSE: BAC) for opportunities if the stocks should pull back after the announcement today as we explained on Wall Street to Main Street yesterday.

Recent Analyst upgrades include Equity Lifestyle Properties (NYSE: ELS) which was upgraded to a Buy from a Hold by A.G. Edwards, SanDisk Corp (NASDAQ: SNDK) was upgraded to a Buy from a Hold by WR Hambrecht, Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX) was upgraded to an Outperfrom from a Neutral by Cowen & Co, Westlake Chemicals (NYSE: WLK) was upgraded to an Outperfrom from a Neutral by Credit Suisse and Advanc Auto Parts (NYSE: AAP) was upgraded to an Outperform from a Neutral by Credit Suisse.

Recent Analyst downgrades include BlackBaud (NASDAQ: BLKB) was downgraded to a Hold from a Buy by WR Hambrecht, Golden West Financial (NYSE: GDW) was downgraded to a Neutral from a Buy by FTN Midwest Research, Usi Holdings (NASDAQ: USIH) was downgraded to a Neutral from a Buy by SunTrust, Robinson, Humphrey, IndyMac Bancrop (NYSE: NDE) was downgraded to a Sell from a Neutral by Banc of America Securities, and Dell (NASDAQ: DELL) receives a downgrade from Robert W. Baird to a Neutral from an Outperform.

Analyst Coverage Initiations include The Interpublic Group of Companies (NYSE: IPG) was initiated with a Buy rating and price target of $12 by Banc of America Securities, sticking to the advertising industry Banc of America Securities also initiated Omnicom Group (NYSE: OMC) with a Buy rating and a price target of $98, Somanetics (NASDAQ: SMTS) was initiated with a Hold rating and a $23 price target by Citigroup Investment Research and China Grentech Corp (NASDAQ: GRRF) was initiated with an Outperfom and a price target of $19.80 by Bear Stearns.

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