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Upgrades & Downgrades: Hanging Up on Nokia

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Maybe the experts know something we don't know.

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US stocks rose again last week, with hopeful housing data sending the DJIA to its best level since Election Day and the S&P 500 and Nasdaq to post-October highs.

We live in denim days - Jefferies just raised their price objective on Guess? (GES) by $4 to $37, the Gap (GPS) gained 3.3% on Friday and Levi's is reportedly offering Indians jeans in installments. See also Two Ways: Guess? Who Gets a Boost?

Hugo Chavez is a happy camper after oil hit an '09 high and Venezuela won Miss Universe for the second successive year. Heading in the opposite direction were hog futures and natural gas, each at seven year lows. "Cash for clunkers" reaches the end of the road tonight at 8:00 Eastern.

Slow burner: today's New York Times reports Julia Child tops the bestseller list for a book authored in 1961. Asia benefited from a "Bernanke bounce" overnight while Europe is trading higher on breakout action in banks. Here at home futures are above fair value. And Wall Street research is again making waves...

Initiations

U-Store-It Trust
(YSI): Bank of America-Merrill Lynch takes U-Store-It Trust out of cold storage, rolling out coverage with a Neutral rating and $6.40 price target just in time for a new book on America's most celebrated pack rats.

Upgrades

Cheesecake Factory (CAKE): Piper Jaffray raised its rating on calorie king Cheesecake Factory to Neutral from an ironic Underweight, setting an $18 price objective.

Advanced Micro Devices (AMD): The tech stock is upgraded at Citigroup to Buy from Hold; an improving risk/reward profile and better gross margins are cited.

Financials: Barclays is bullish on financials, raising ratings on American Express (AXP) and Capital One (COF) among others.

WPP Group (WPPGY): Hard on the heels of last night's episode of Mad Men, ad industry titan WPP Group is higher in London after an upgrade (Buy from Hold) at Deutsche Bank on cost containment.

Hibbett Sports (HIBB): Hibbett is raised at JPMorgan (Overweight from Neutral) on easing comps and merchandise mix shifts). This after last week's big gains in both Big 5 Sporting Goods (BGFV) and Dick's Sporting Goods (DKS); not bad for a nation of couch potatoes.

Downgrades

Nokia (NOK): Deutsche Bank hung up on Nokia, cutting it to Hold from Buy as smartphones are seeing increasing competition and decreasing margins. See Three Reasons to Keep Nokia on Hold.

Toll Brothers (TOL): Housing builder Toll Brothers may pay the price after a downgrade (Hold from Buy) at Citigroup. See Robert Toll, Robber Baron.

Kansas City Southern (KSU): Shares of Kansas City Southern may head south after UBS lowered its rating to Neutral from Buy.
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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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