Happy talk, dismissed as hot air by Harry Reid
only 24 hours earlier, clearly had investors liking what they heard yesterday. Stocks surged, due not to any concerted action in Washington but instead after additional speechifying from House Speaker John Boehner and Orator in Chief President Obama. The latter called for a “fair and balanced
” approach to addressing our fiscal cliff crisis and, if Fox News won’t appreciate the appropriation of its most famous phrase, twin consolations arrived with its owner News Corp
(NWS) advancing another 1.80% while Mr. Murdoch’s nemesis British Sky Broadcasting
(BSYBY) received a ratings reduction this morning.
Equities ended at session highs after late speculation the Fed may be about to embark on QE4 because, well, the approximately 300 easing moves that have occurred worldwide over the past 14 months clearly aren’t quite enough. Retail stocks scored good gains, with Abercrombie & Fitch
(ANF) -- up 8.6% last week and 29.66% the week before -- rising a further 2.78%. Its male models famously need no excuse to strip
and Limited Brands
(LTD), whose Victoria’s Secret chain had the ladies similarly bearing all in the aisles
on Black Friday, also ticked up 3.42%, presumably on naked short covering.
Today in economics, analysts expect October pending home sales to tick up at 10:00 a.m. Eastern. In earnings action, Barnes & Noble
(BKS), Cracker Barrel Old Country Store
(KR), Pacific Sunwear of California
(TIF), Ulta Salon
(ULTA), and Zumiez
(ZUMZ) are all due to reveal results.
(AVB): The real estate outfit is raised to Market Perform from Underperform by BMO Capital.
(KMX): Shares get increased to Buy from Neutral at Goldman Sachs, which also takes its price target up by $10 to $42. Catalysts include used car supply and a re-acceleration in growth.
(DHI): Shares are now Neutral from Sell at Compass Point, which increases its price objective by $5 to $18.
(GOOG): The Internet search giant gets a Buy-from-Hold upgrade at Oracle Research.
(GES): GES gets upgraded to Overweight from Neutral at Piper Jaffray, which cites both impressive earnings and a brand stabilization.
(IACI): Wells Fargo moves the Match.com owner to Outperform from Market Perform amid a more compelling current valuation.
(BLOX): BLOX is boosted to Outperform from Perform with Wedbush.
(MCRS): Shares are moved to Buy from Neutral at Compass Point, whose target is $50.
(NYSE:NKE) The athletic apparel and footwear giant gets upgraded to Overweight from Neutral at HSBC Securities, which takes its target up to $112 from $101. Inventory cleaning and impressive cash generation are both seen as catalysts, and shares are up before the bell.
(NRF): NRF is now Outperform from Market Perform at FBR Capital.
(PSA): KeyBanc Capital hoists the company to Hold from Underweight with occupancy at near record levels.
Research In Motion
(RIMM): Shares are surging 11.7% ahead of the open on a boost to Buy from Neutral at Goldman Sachs, which takes its price objective up by $7 to $16. “We now assess a 30% chance of success for BlackBerry 10 given positive early reviews”, its analysts wrote in a note.
(See also: Stock Downgrades: Taser Suffers Stunning Setback
and New Stock Coverage: Messing With Texas Instruments
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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