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Upgrades & Downgrades: Check In the Mail for FedEx


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

The S&P 500 Index (^GSPC) ended up 2.17% for a fifth straight weekly advance, its best such streak in over a year, while Dow Industrials (^DJI) hit their highest close since May 2008 and Nasdaq (^IXIC) reached a peak not seen since December 2000. But wait, it gets even better, with Wall Street exultant over last night's win of NFC over AFC as it means the fabled Super Bowl Indicator should once again be a winner for investors this year. (Okay, in 2008 - the last time such prayers were affirmatively answered in a championship game involving yesterday's opponents - it didn't actually end up so well, but we won't go there.) Standout stocks included Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (GMCR), investors going long after a 34.62% surge. No doubt to the immense displeasure of one noted short who responded to allegations of insider trading in England's Punch Taverns by saying, "This is as much like insider trading as football is like soccer." That's a distinction without a difference across the Atlantic of course, and one likely to get him decked in any British bar. Elsewhere a 'comedy' called Work It was canceled last month, but its stars were atypical in being show pink slips, January's better than expected jobless rate of 8.3% providing much of the fuel for equities.

An ominous underemployment metric of 15.1% should caution against any irrational exuberance, although the Maytag repairman, infamous for being idle on the job, better not complain about how lonely it is at the top of the S&P 500 after owner Whirlpool (WHR), which writes his paychecks, jumped 25.8%. Ford (F), whose founder was famous for saying "history is bunk" rode impressive car sales to gain 4.8% but history's highest paid historian went down to defeat in states Sunshine and Silver. And Facebook, who some cynics say has a fantastic future behind it based on an already plateauing user base, filed a multi-billion dollar IPO in uneasy echoes of the Internet bubble as it bids to look forward not back. Which is just as well, since they don't know much about history, recently mixing up the American and German versions of Merck (MRK). (Something to do with Treaty of Versailles reparations in 1919 and all that.) Since those who don't learn from history are of course doomed to repeat it, Zuck and Co may want to turn to Meredith Whitney, who majored in German history even as the Berlin Wall was coming crashing down, for advice.) No top-tier economic data out today but corporate earnings announcements are expected out of Anadarko Petroleum Corp (APC), Coinstar (CSTR), Hasbro (HAS), Suzuki Motor, Sysco Corp (SYY), Torchmark (TMK) and Yum Brands (YUM).


ArcelorMittal (MT): The steel giant gets initiated with an Outperform at Imperial Capital.

FactSet (FDS): BTIG assigns a fresh Sell on the stock.

Mid-Con Energy Partners (MCEP): Shares are picked up with an Outperform at Wells Fargo.


Walt Disney (DIS): The Dow member gets a Buy-from-Neutral boost at Davenport.

Shoe stocks: Kenneth Cole Productions (KCP) is upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Stern Agee, which also raises ratings on K-Swiss (KSWS) and Skechers USA (SKX), both now Neutral from Underperform.

Banco Santander Brasil (BSBR): Shares get a Buy-from-Neutral boost at Bank of America-Merrill Lynch.

Corning (GLW): Piper Jaffray juices its rating to Buy from Neutral.

Camden Property (CPT): ISI Group, which ranked first in Institutional Investor's 2011 REIT research team raises its rating to Buy from Hold.

FedEx (FDX):Bank of America-Merrill Lynch lifts the package delivery giant to Buy from Neutral, sending the stock up ahead of the opening bell.

Mitsubishi Financial (MTU): Jefferies moves MTU to Hold from Sell.

Unilever PLC (UL): The Anglo-Dutch consumer products powerhouse gets added to the pan European Buy list at Goldman Sachs.

Kelly Services (KELYA): The staffing outfit is now Buy from Neutral at Citigroup.

Tenneco (TEN): Goldman adds the company to its list of Conviction Buys.


Ann Inc (ANN): The women's clothing company formerly known as Ann Taylor is slashed substantially, to Underweight from Overweight by Barclays.

ABB Ltd (ABB): The European industrial outfit is now Neutral from Buy at UBS.

Buffalo Wild Wings (BWLD): A quick post-Super Bowl downgrade for the fast food delicacy, moved to Hold from Buy at Miller Tabak after last week's 6.1% surge. The price target is also taken down to $72 from $78 ahead of tomorrow's earnings report amid heightened concern regarding stubbornly high bone-in wing costs.

Cracker Barrel Old Country Store (CBRL): KeyBanc Capital cuts CBRL to Hold from Buy.

China Telecom (CHA): Shares are taken to Underperform from Neutral at Credit Suisse.

Deere (DE): ISI Groups gives DE a Hold-from-Buy downgrade.

MGM Resorts (MGM): Goldman gives the casino company a Neutral-from-Buy downgrade.

Novartis AG (NVS): The Swiss pharmaceutical outfit is lowered to Underperform from Neutral by Bank of America-Merrill Lynch.

Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A): Credit Suisse cuts the petroleum firm to Neutral from Outperform, citing "a premium on multiples and [only] sector-average free cash and dividend yields."

Rogers Communications (RCI): Macquarie reduces its RCI recommendation to Neutral from Outperform.

Regeneron Pharmaceuticals (REGN) REGN is reduced to Neutral from Overweight at Piper Jaffray.

State Street (STT): Evercore trims STT to Equal Weight from Overweight.

Teva Pharmaceuticals (TEVA): Staying in the sector, Morgan Stanley takes TEVA to Equal Weight from Overweight.

MWI Veterinary Supply (MWIV): Barrington Research moves MWIV to Market Perform from Outperform amid concerns over the sustainability of the company's long-term growth rate.

Nobel Biocare Holding AG: The stock is now Hold from Buy at Jefferies.

Weyerhaeuser (WY): UBS slashes the shares to Sell from Neutral, sending it lower before the bell.
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