J.P. Morgan upgraded shares of CNF (nyse: CNF - news - people ) to "neutral" from "underweight" while Merrill Lynch increased its rating of the supply chain management company to "buy" from "neutral," following the company's first-quarter earnings report. CNF Monday reported first-quarter earnings, including a special gain, of $24.4 million, or 45 cents per share, up from $15.9 million, or 30 cents per share, a year earlier. J.P. Morgan characterized the earnings report as "strong" and noted "improving freight demand." The research house said the company's Con-Way trucking unit was continuing to experience market share gains and that there were "renewed signs of life" in the U.S. forwarding business. Merrill Lynch also noted a strong performance by the Con-Way unit, saying it was "keeping a lid on expenses." Merrill Lynch has a 12-month price target of $40 for the stock.