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Upgrades & Downgrades: Joy Global Is All Smiles

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

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Stocks surged on better news out of Europe and robust retail sales here at home, the S&P 500 Index increasing 5.98% in its best weekly performance since July 2009. Google (GOOG) recently turned 13 but avoided any adolescent angst with a 14.9% jump. Charging bucks only added to the popularity of its YouTube division although there was no such luck for the dollar, down 6% against its Australian counterpart and off against a basket of major currencies. Botox maker Allergan (AGN) rose 2.3% to a fresh 52-week peak but Barbie looks better than ever aged 52, its sales up 17% at parent Mattel (MAT). Elsewhere, investors spent $1.6 billion for 99 Cents Only (NDN). The Dow marked four years since its October 11, 2007 all time intra-day high of 14,198.10. An anniversary traditionally celebrated with fruit and books, hence the good gains in Apple (AAPL) (up 14.1% to a record on stellar iPhone orders) and Amazon (AMZN), which rose 4.5% to a new high.

Noted philatelist Bill Gross did his best to resurrect the U.S. postal industry, penning a letter titled 'Mea culpa'. (He can at least take some comfort in the strong showing of Stamps.com (STMP), up 3.5% on the week.) And the Wall Street occupiers, awash with cash, took aim at Goldman Sachs (GS), on the verge of losing money. Hardly a fair fight. Especially since the protesters are being served free ice cream by Ben and Jerry, noted anti-capitalists who pocketed $326 million from the sale of their homespun firm to multinational giant Unilever (UL). Whose shares, incidentally, advanced 2.9% to its best level of 2011. Today in economics, September industrial production and capacity utilization are out at 9:15AM Eastern. The first full week of third quarter earnings season starts with Charles Schwab (SCHW), Citigroup (C), Gannett (GCI), Halliburton (HAL), Hasbro (HAS), International Business Machines (IBM), Philips Electronics (PHG), Stanley Black & Decker (SWK), VMware (VMW), and Wells Fargo (WFC) all due to report results.

Initiations

Tiffany & Co (TIF): TIF is begun with a uy at Sterne Agee, which assigns it a price objective of $90.

LyondellBasell (LYB): Deutsche Bank launches Buy rated coverage on LYB.

Archer-Daniels (ADM): The agribusiness giant gets picked up with a Hold at Argus, which has concerns that EPS growth could slow further in the near term.

Upgrades

Caterpillar (CAT): CAT, last week's top Dow stock, is up again before the bell after being boosted to Buy from Neutral at Goldman Sachs.

Procter & Gamble (PG): The consumer products powerhouse, also in the Blue Chip index, is upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at BMO Capital.

Family Dollar (FDO): The discount retailer is increased to Overweight from Equal Weight by Barclays.

WPP Group plc (WPPGY): The advertising giant gets hoisted to Buy from Hold at the Royal Bank of Scotland.

Compass Group (CMPGY): The company is now Outperform from Neutral at Exane BNP Paribas.

Aviva (AV): AV is upgraded to Buy from Neutral at UBS.

Industrial Stocks: Jefferies takes the following up to Buy from Hold -- Timken (TKR), Parker-Hannifin (PH), Joy Global (JOYG), Eaton (ETN), Cummins (CMI), and CNH Global (CHH).

Vulcan Materials (VMC): VMC is now Neutral from Sell at Goldman.

EastGroup (EGP): The shares are moved to Buy from Neutral at Janney Montgomery Scott.

PPG Industries (PPG): PPG gets upgraded to Positive from Neutral at Susquehanna.

Oil Drillers: Raymond James raises ratings on Noble Corp (NE) and Transocean (RIG), each upgraded to Strong Buy from Outperform. For related content, see Small Driller a Wellhead of Profits.

Downgrades

Apple (AAPL): The tech titan is taken to Hold from Buy at BGC Financial.

Alcoa (AA): The key Dow component is downgraded to Underperform from Market Perform at First Global.

Dollar Tree (DLTR): The discounter is now Equal Weight from Overweight at Barclays.

Retailers: Sterne Agee reduces ratings on Columbia Sportswear (COLM), Dick's Sporting Goods (DKS), and K-Swiss (KSWS), all now Underperform from Neutral. It also cuts Hibbett Sports (HIBB), Kenneth Cole Productions (KCP), Shoe Carnival (SCVL) and Wolverine World Wide (WWW) to Neutral from Buy. Also read Retail Sector Technical Breakdown and Report.

Interpublic Group (IPG): The ad agency is cut to Hold at Deutsche Bank.

Navistar (NAV): NAV is now Sell from Neutral at Goldman.

Veeco Instruments (VECO): VECO is lowered to Sell from Hold at Canaccord Genuity.

American Capital Agency (AGNC): The stock is moved to Market Perform from Outperform at JMP Securities.

Cimarex (XEC): XEC gets lowered to Neutral from Buy at Lazard.
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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