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Stock Upgrades: Amazon's Money Tree Keeps Growing

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

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Stocks jumped to start 2013, with Nasdaq's (^IXIC) 4.77% increase pacing the three major averages. Netbook, we hardly knew ye - the onetime hot product was officially killed off after a remarkably short shelf life. The death of print is taking surprisingly long to occur but we said a sad goodbye to the man who gave the electronic reader its name. Corporate America declared "You can call me Al" as Al Gore sold his soul to Al Jazerra and Botox maker Allergan (AGN) advanced to the highest level in its history on Friday, prompting a frozen smile from Nancy Pelosi. Homebuilder Hovnanian Enterprises (HOV) surged 382.76% in 2012, putting it in a position to buy several Downton Abbeys, whose third season started in the States on Sunday. It is set in 1920 and is still as good as gold, which itself posted a 12th straight annual gain, its longest winning streak since…1920.

No top-tier economic data due today, but quarterly earnings announcements are expected out of Commercial Metals Company (CMC), Phillips 66 (PSX), and Zep Inc (ZEP).

Aerospace & Defense: RBC Capital raises Northrop Grumman (NOC) to Sector Perform from Underperform and takes Textron (TXT) to Outperform from Sector Perform.

Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN): The Internet outfit is trading higher ahead of today's opening bell after getting increased to Overweight from Equal-Weight with Morgan Stanley.

British American Tobacco (BTI): Deutsche Bank boosts the cigarette stock to Buy from Hold.

Canon (CAJ): Jefferies upgrades the Japanese electronics giant to Buy from Hold.

Credit Suisse (CS): The financial firm is raised to Outperform from Sector Perform at RBC Capital.

Danaher (DHR): The diversified machinery maker is moved to Buy from Neutral at ISI Group, which also takes its target price up by $3 to $64 from $61. Catalysts include emerging markets exposure and impressive free cash flow.

Dick's Sporting Goods (JKS): Janney juices its recommendation to Buy from Neutral amid the retailer's ample growth opportunities and operational advantages.

Family Dollar (FDO): The stock, a steep decliner last week and downgraded by Morgan Stanley this morning, is upgraded to Overweight from Equal Weight by Barclays.

Flowers Foods (FLO): The baker gets a Buy-from-Hold boost at Deutsche Bank.

Harman International (HAR): Citing a compelling valuation and strong balance sheet, Robert W. Baird raises its recommendation to Outperform from Neutral. The target is also increased, by $12 to $65.

Henry Schein, Inc. (HSIC): ISI group gives the medical equipment outfit a Neutral-from-Underweight upgrade, assigning a price objective of $84. Share repurchases and expense management are each seen as positives.

Hess Corporation (HES): The energy company is increased to Buy from Hold at Deutsche Bank.

Hexcel (HXL): HXL gets hoisted to Buy from Neutral at Goldman Sachs.

Intel (INTC): The semiconductor stock, a key Dow (^DJI) component, is lifted to Buy from Neutral with a $26 target at Lazard Capital, which says the first quarter will see gross margin demand bottom out.

Mettler-Toledo (MTD): Bank of America-Merrill Lynch moves the stock to Buy from Neutral.

Micron (MU): MU is added to the Top Picks Live list at Citigroup.

Royal KPN (PINK:KKPNY) Citigroup boosts the European firm to Buy from Neutral.

Symantec (SYMC): The Internet security firm is upgraded to Overweight from Equal-Weight by Barclays.

VIVUS Inc. (VVUS): Shares are added to the US 1 List of favored equities at Bank of America-Merrill.

Walgreen (WAG): Jefferies boosts its rating to Buy from Hold.

(See also: Stock Downgrades: Tough Start to the Week for Finish Line and New Stock Coverage: Bunge Stock Set to Jump.)
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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