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Stock Upgrades: Saying Yes to Nokia

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

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New York's weather has lately been more like late March than the first month of the year, but the ebullient "January effect" remains much evidence on the New York Stock Exchange. Stocks scored a second straight day of increases, with Zale Corp. (ZLC) - which bills itself as "America's diamond store since 1924″ - surging 11.69%. Alas Ruby Tuesday (RT) was strictly rhinestone on Thursday after announcing iffy earnings on Wednesday. It fell 5.78%. Taco Bell owner Yum Brands (YUM) rebounded 2.21%, this as one of its employees was sent to the slammer for handcuffing himself to a female co-worker in the hope she would go out with him. Tiffany (TIF) could do with more committed customers like that, especially after the wedding ring king posted the S&P 500′s (^GSPC) poorest performance, plunging 4.52%. The jeweler went public in 1987, an unforgettable annum that Aéropostale (ARO) celebrates in its shirts. Not the best idea, given Wall Street's punk performance that year, and the apparel outfit indeed also ended down on an otherwise up day, and just incurred a ratings reduction to boot. Jack Lew's illegible scrawl may soon be seen on our currency after his nomination for Treasury Secretary. The flip side of a dollar bill clearly shows Herbalife (HLF) giving those who accuse it of operating a pyramid scheme the evil eye. Unfortunately, it fell 1.78% after an unconvincing attempt to defend itself.

Today's economic data includes the December federal budget at 2:00 p.m. Eastern. On the corporate front, Infosys (INFY) and Wells Fargo (WFC) have each already announced results this morning.

Brookdale Senior Living (BKD): The long-term care provider gets lifted to Buy from Neutral at Bank of America-Merrill Lynch.

Dendreon (DNDN): Shares of the small cap are surging 13.7% ahead of the open on an upgrade to Outperform from Perform at Sanford Bernstein, which notes favorable urologist feedback on its Provenge product.

Edison International (EIX): The electric utility gets increased to Buy from Neutral at Goldman Sachs, which says it is able to generate above average dividend growth.

European Autos: Goldman adds the previously Buy rated Daimler (PINK:DDAIF) to its Conviction Buy list and gives Volvo (PINK:VOLVY) a Conviction Buy-from-Neutral boost.

Ford (F): Shares are up sharply in today's pre-market trading after getting placed on Goldman's list of Conviction Buys.

Forest Labs (FRX): Goldman lifts FRX to Neutral from Sell.

Hospital Stocks: Bank of America-Merrill gives Buy-from-Neutral boosts to both Community Health (CYH) and Tenet Healthcare (THC).

Hovnanian (HOV): The home builder, a stellar performer in 2012, gets hoisted to Neutral from Underweight at JPMorgan.

Nokia (NYSE:NOK): The telecom stock, up 18.67% yesterday to top the entire NYSE, is this morning upgraded 180 degrees (Buy from Sell) at Société Générale.

Philip Morris International (PHI): The cigarette stock is added to Goldman's Conviction Buy list.

Unwired Planet (UPIP): UPIP is increased to Outperform from Market Perform at Northland.

Viacom (VIAB): Janney Capital juices the media giant to Buy from Neutral with a $65 price target as it expects ongoing ratings improvements from programming investments.

(See also: Stock Downgrades: Raspberries for Research In Motion and New Stock Coverage: Good Things on Tap at Molson Coors.)
No positions in stocks mentioned.
The information on this website solely reflects the analysis of or opinion about the performance of securities and financial markets by the writers whose articles appear on the site. The views expressed by the writers are not necessarily the views of Minyanville Media, Inc. or members of its management. Nothing contained on the website is intended to constitute a recommendation or advice addressed to an individual investor or category of investors to purchase, sell or hold any security, or to take any action with respect to the prospective movement of the securities markets or to solicit the purchase or sale of any security. Any investment decisions must be made by the reader either individually or in consultation with his or her investment professional. Minyanville writers and staff may trade or hold positions in securities that are discussed in articles appearing on the website. Writers of articles are required to disclose whether they have a position in any stock or fund discussed in an article, but are not permitted to disclose the size or direction of the position. Nothing on this website is intended to solicit business of any kind for a writer's business or fund. Minyanville management and staff as well as contributing writers will not respond to emails or other communications requesting investment advice.

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