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Upgrades & Downgrades: Garmin Finds a Friend


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

Not to jinx it or anything, but the S&P 500 (^GSPC) is off to its best 11-day start to a January in exactly a quarter century. (For those who don't wish to be reminded of what eventually occurred on October 19 of that initially ebullient year, look away now, for Wikipedia is up and running again.) Stocks rose on optimism the International Monetary Fund, an odd choice as the arbiter of other people's money, will provide additional funds to combat Europe's debt threat. A gauge of home builder confidence rising to its highest level in over four years also boosted bourses, even if it did nothing to sell the pricey pad of the IMF's disgraced ex-head. Miss America, the Nasdaq's (^IXIC) opening belle, helped that index outperform all others. Considering the lovely lassie is from the Cheesehead state of Wisconsin, Velveeta king Kraft (KFT) gaining 1.55% to a new nine-year peak will have also met with her approval. Although given the importance the pageant places on teaching, sorry showings from American Public Education (APEI) (-5.56%), Corinthian Colleges (COCO) (-2.11%), and Learning Tree (LTRE) (-2.94%) on an otherwise up day surely took some of the shine off.

Elsewhere Apple Inc (AAPL) advanced 1.04% en route to another historic high. The Cupertino company should make hay, and money, while the sun shines, for as one tech titan of yesteryear can today attest, even giants once blessed with flashes of genius eventually all end up in the dark room. JPMorgan Chase (JPM), up 4.67%, went from worst to first in the Dow Average (^DJI) over the space of 24 hours after going after someone who got away with murder but was sent to the slammer for stealing sports memorabilia. Fossil Inc (FOSL) increased 4.50% as we discovered anew how only the fiscally fittest survive. And Casual Male Retail Group (CMRG), which outfits "big and tall" guys, rose 1.86% after a 6'9″ dude finally exposed a mighty tall tale. This morning in economics, consensus is calling for an increase January's Philadelphia Fed Index at 10:00 a.m. Eastern. Today's important earnings announcements include American Express (AXP), Bank of America (BAC), Intel (INTC), International Business Machines (IBM), and Microsoft (MSFT).


Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF): The apparel outfit is resumed with a Market Perform by brokers William Blair.

Coach (COH): William Blair begins the luxury retailer at Outperform.

Tobacco Stocks: Altria (MO) and Philip Morris International (PM) are each initiated at Outperforms by Crédit Agricole, which assigns an Underperform on rival Reynolds American (RAI).

Business Service Stocks: Credit Suisse's coverage includes new Neutrals on Accenture (ACN), Equifax (EFX), and Western Union (WU). Among its Outperforms are Automatic Data Processing (ADP), Alliance Data Systems (ADS), Moneygram International (MGI), and Paychex(PAYX).

Human Genome Sciences (HGSI) Maxim Group assigns a Buy rating and $14 price objective on the stock. Catalysts include its recently commercialized Benlysta, used to treat certain types of systemic lupus, which should support upside from current levels.

REITs: Equity Residential (EQR) is initiated with a In-Line rating and $58 target price at Imperial Capital. The investment house is more bullish on competitor Camden Property (CPT) (Outperform and $67 objective) as its portfolio is located in some of the fastest growing job markets in the U.S.

Acadia Healthcare (ACHC) Citigroup starts the stock with a Buy.

Taleo (TLEO): Nomura has a new Buy on TLEO.


Advance Auto Parts (AAP): AAP is upgraded to Outperform from Neutral at Credit Suisse.

Deutsche Lufthansa AG: The German air giant gets increased to Overweight from Neutral at HSBC Securities.

UBS AG (UBS): Shares of the Swiss bank are sharply higher overseas today on the back of an Overweight-from-Equal Weight raise at Morgan Stanley, which says the European Central Bank's move to decrease systemic risk should help the financial firm.

Medical Device Makers: Boston Scientific (BSX) and St. Jude Medical (STJ) are both boosted to Outperform from Market Perform by Sanford Bernstein.

F5 Networks (FFIV): Bank of America-Merrill Lynch lifts the tech stock to Buy from Neutral.

Cash America (CSH): Shares are now Buy from Neutral at Sterne Agee.

Garmin (GRMN) The maker of GPS devices gets a Buy-from-Hold hoist at Canaccord Genuity, whose target is $47.50 on a firm it says should see improving earnings power away from its core portable navigation device segment.

Golar LNG (GLNG): Dahlman Rose gives GLNG a Buy-from-Hold boost and sets a $50 target as recent underperformance has created compelling value in a stock whose outlook remains robust.

Green Dot (GDOT): GDOT is juiced to Buy from Hold at Jefferies.

Health Management Associates (HMA): The stock is upgraded to Buy from Hold at Deutsche Bank.

Terex (TEX): TEX is taken to Outperform from Neutral with a new higher price target of $25 by brokers Robert W. Baird. An expected acceleration in China's growth during the second half of 2012 should bode well for the shares.


ArcelorMittal (MT): The European steel giant gets downgraded to Neutral from Overweight at HSBC Securities, which takes its objective to $21.40 from $30. They say China creates a cap for European steel margins and as such consensus earnings expectations are overly optimistic.

British Sky Broadcasting: Shares are lowered substantially, to Underperform from Outperform by Sanford Bernstein.

British grocers: Tesco gets taken to Neutral from Buy at Goldman Sachs, which slashes J Sainsbury to Sell from Neutral. The bank writes that, after the former's "profit warning on January 11, we believe the U.K. food retail sector outlook has significantly worsened."

Medical device makers: Stryker (SYK) and Zimmer (ZMH) are each moved to Market Perform from Outperform by Bernstein.

RadioShack (RSH): Credit Suisse reduces its RSH recommendation to Underperform from Neutral.

Scotts Miracle-Gro (SMG): Shares are moved to Underperform from Market Perform by BMO Capital.

Veolia Environnement (VE): The French firm is now Neutral from Overweight at HSBC Securities, sending shares lower ahead of the opening bell.

Air Products (APD): JP Morgan takes APD to Neutral from Overweight.

Astec Industries (ASTE) Robert W. Baird reduces its rating to Neutral from Outperform on valuation, as shares are now within 10% of their $38 target.

BankUnited (BKU): BKU is lowered to Neutral from Buy by Bank of America-Merrill Lynch.

Cloud Peak Energy (CLD): The energy outfit is cut to Market Perform from Outperform at FBR Capital amid valuation concerns.

Covanta (CVA): CVA is now Neutral from Buy at Bank of America-Merrill.

Digital Realty Trust (DLR): Deutsche Bank downgrades DLR to Hold from Buy.

Oasis Petroleum (OAS): The energy firm is now Neutral from Buy at UBS.

Walgreen (WAG): Shares get lowered to Neutral from Buy at Goldman.

Xilinx (XLNX): Deutsche Bank takes the tech company to Hold from Buy.

Sealy (ZZ): The mattress maker is moved to Market Perform from Outperform by brokers Raymond James.
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