Stock Upgrades: Alibaba Stake Makes Yahoo a Steal

By Justin Sharon  MAR 21, 2013 9:24 AM

Wall Street ratings agencies set the tone for today's stock market.

 


A month that started with a sequester appropriately enough came down to a jury of eight men and four women on Wednesday. By the time the 12-person panel also known as the Federal Open Market Committee issued its verdict, stocks continued their upward ascent.
 
Adobe Systems (ADBE) surged 4.20% to finish at a fresh 52-week peak even as Apple Inc. (AAPL) fell 0.53%. There is famously little love lost between the two tech titans, so what on Earth would Steve Jobs say about giving a job to a man best known for doing a Lynch job on his firm? It seems things are never what they seem.
 
Indeed Häagen-Dazs, which despite sounding so Scandinavian was in fact invented by two boys from Da Bronx, saw its parent company General Mills (GIS) jump 2.56% to an historic high. This as Williams-Sonoma (WSM), which doesn’t actually have a single store in Sonoma County, surged 10.26% to end at an all-time best of its own. And with the Russian mob on the march, Merrill Lynch (BAC) made Mafia Wars owner Zynga (ZNGA) an offer it couldn’t refuse. Shares promptly slid 3.80%.
 
We get a trifecta of economic data today at 10:00 a.m. Eastern, namely February existing home sales and leading indicators, plus the Philadelphia Fed index for March. On the corporate front, ConAgra Foods (CAG), Foxconn International (PINK: FXCNY), Hennes & Mauritz (PINK:HNNMY), Hermès International (PINK:HESAY), IHS Inc. (IHS), KB Home (KBH), Lululemon Athletica (LULU), Micron Technology (MU), Nike Inc. (NKE), Perry Ellis International (PERY), Ross Stores (ROST), and Scholastic (SCHL) are all due to reveal results.
 
Bruker Corporation (BKRK): The scientific instrument outfit gets a Buy-from-Hold hoist Jefferies.
 
Electronic Arts (EA): Shares, under substantial pressure of late, are lifted to Buy from Neutral at Longbow.
 
HomeAway (AWAY): Morgan Stanley moves the stock to Overweight from Equal-Weight.
 
International Flavors & Fragrances (IFF): IFF is increased to Buy from Hold at Argus.
 
Legg Mason (LM): The money manager gets lifted to Outperform from Market Perform with Wells Fargo.
 
Nestlé (PINK:NSRGY): Citigroup boosts the confectionery king to Buy from Neutral.
 
Subsea 7 (PINK:SUBCY): ABN Amro increases the oil industry semi-submersible outfit to Buy from Hold.
 
Walgreen (WAG): The recently surging stock is now Outperform from Neutral at Macquarie.
 
Weatherford International (WFT): The energy equity gets upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at Raymond James.
 
Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO): Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves would be proud. The stock, already up substantially since Marissa Mayer took over as CEO, is adding on another 1.61% ahead of the open after getting upgraded to Outperform from Perform at Oppenheimer. Alibaba, still 24% owned by Yahoo, is expected to complete a $77 billion Initial Public Offering in the next 12 months. Strong search revenues are another reason for optimism, in Oppenheimer’s assessment, and its price objective increases to $27 from $22.

(See also: New Stock Coverage: Not Buying Honeywell Would Be a Big Boo Boo and Stock Downgrades: Oracle Has a Profit Problem.)
No positions in stocks mentioned.

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