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Upgrades & Downgrades: Life's Swell for Dell

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Maybe the experts know something we don't know.

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Stocks scored good gains after Germany apparently rode to Europe's rescue -- not a phrase history has often uttered -- with an implicit pledge to prevent Greece's Saturday Night Fever from further contaminating the entire continent. See also Todd's article Achtung Baby! Wall Street's confidence was built up by the Dow's biggest percentage gain since November 9th, back when we were celebrating 20 years since the Berlin Wall's tearing down. Bears went into hiding -- enforced or otherwise -- as animal spirits returned. Disney's (DIS) Mouse House rose 1.22% ahead of earnings which beat the Street. Tyson Foods (TSN), up 2.12% to a new 52 week high, continued to repair much of the damage done to chickens by both General Tso and Colonel Sanders and PetSmart (PETM) jumped 2.92% on an upgrade. (Either that, or the news that many Americans will spend Sunday with a pet as a partner.)

Snow ensured that for a third day they didn't work in Washington but Morgan Stanley's more constructive stance on Caterpillar (CAT) certainly played in Peoria. And psychoanalysts exerted as much market impact as stock analysts; immediately after Leno and Letterman each appeared on the couch of the country's resident therapist, the former was fired and the latter's grumpy mood was improved after shares of his employer CBS (CBS) gained 2.44%. Earnings season continues its wind-down in America but some big names report abroad. Today sees results out of Activision (ATVI), Allstate (ALL), Air France-KLM, ArcelorMittal (MT), BHP Billiton (BHP), Boston Scientific (BSX), Computer Sciences (CSC), Dean Foods (DF), Elan Corp (ELN), Louisiana-Pacific (LPX), New York Times (NYT), Sanofi-Aventis (SNY), Rio Tinto (RTP), Sprint Nextel (S), Vale (VALE), and Wyndham Worldwide (WYN).

Initiations

Citigroup (C): The bank gets resumed at a Neutral by Goldman Sachs.

Papa John's International (PZZA): The pizza maker is initiated with a Neutral by Janney Montgomery Scott.

Swift Energy (SFY): Canaccord Adams starts Swift Energy at a Buy.

Leap Wireless (LEAP): The stock is begun by BMO Capital with a Market Perform and $17.50 price target. See also Western Wireless Companies Face Another Roadblock.

Upgrades

Dell (DELL): Dude remember Dell, the direct-to-consumer dreamboat which was riding high back when our exalted Apple (AAPL) was thisclose to bankruptcy? It's endured tough times since but is up ahead of the open after a Buy from Neutral lift at Bank of America/Merrill Lynch, which also takes its target up to $18 from $16.50, citing its recent underperformance relative to the market.

Tiffany (TIF): The jeweler says a little prayer to St. Valentine after also being boosted to Buy from Neutral ($48 target maintained) by Bank of America/Merrill.

Adobe Systems (ADBE): The stock is boosted by both Credit Suisse (Outperform from Neutral; target up to $39.50 from $35) and Jefferies (Buy from Hold; $40), which says concerns over the future of Flash are overblown. Also read Why Apple's War on Adobe Flash Is Premature.

OpenTable (OPEN): The stock is also increased to Buy from Neutral at Bank of America/Merrill.

Apollo Investment (AINV): Wells Fargo raises Apollo Investment (Outperform from Market Perform).

Air Products (APD): Believing a dislocation in the shares following the proposal to acquire Airgas (ARG) creates a rare advantageous entry point, Robert Baird takes Air Products to Outperform from Neutral with a price objective of $89.

NYSE Euronext (NYX): The stock is now Outperform (from Underperform) at Calyon Securities.

Veolia Environnement (VE): VE is upgraded to Neutral from Sell at UBS.

Energy Stocks: Peabody Energy (BTU) ($50 target) and Entergy (ETR) ($88) are both now Overweight from Neutral at JP Morgan.

Commerce Bancshares (CBSH): The stock is now Buy from Neutral at UBS.

Agrium (AGU): The ag stock has its rating raised to Market Weight from Underweight at Thomas Weisel, which takes its target up $20 to $68.

Martin Marietta Materials (MLM): Goldman Sachs pulls Martin Marietta Materials from its Americas Conviction Buy list.

Downgrades

Energy Conversion Devices (ENER): The stock is downgraded to Sell from Neutral at UBS.

Crucell N.V. (CRXL): Crucell gets cut to Neutral from Buy, also at UBS.

Massey Energy (MEE): JP Morgan moves Massey Energy to Neutral from Overweight with a $43 target price.

Telvent Git SA (TLVT): Piper Jaffray takes Telvent Git SA to Neutral from Overweight.
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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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