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Stock Upgrades: Learning to 'Like' Facebook All Over Again


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

MINYANVILLE ORIGINAL Cynics who said Yahoo (YHOO) ever getting its act together is about as likely as America overtaking Saudi Arabia in oil may have to reassess after that stock jumped 5.71% to a fresh 52-week peak on an otherwise dire day in equities. Its CEO Marissa Mayer hails from Wausau, Wisconsin, and the Badger State could also take pride in Milwaukee's own Harley-Davidson (HOG) surging some 7.72%.

A manager at Arby's was apparently fired for working too hard, alone on her overtime while fighting off a robber. Meanwhile Whirlpool (WHR), whose slacker Maytag repairman should adopt a similar work ethic, advanced 8.69% to top the entire S&P 500 Index (^GSPC).

Today in economics, consensus calls for an increase in September new home sales at 10:00 a.m. Eastern, and the Federal Open Market Committee concludes its two-day monetary-policy meeting at 2:15 p.m. On the corporate front, it's Hump Day of another peak week for earnings announcements, with AT&T (T), Boeing (BA), Delta Air Lines (DAL), General Dynamics (GD), Eli Lilly (LLY), Iberdrola (IBDRY), Kimberley-Clark (KMB), Lockheed Martin (LMT), Nintendo (NTDOY), Motorola (MOT), SAP AG (SAP), T Rowe Price (TROW), US Airways(LCC), and Volkswagen (VLKAY) all due to report results.

Activision Blizzard (ATVI): Shares are added to the US Focus List of favored equities at Credit Suisse.

American Campus Communities (ACC): Impressed by both compelling growth and consolidation opportunities, UBS boosts the stock to Buy from Neutral. The price objective is also increased, to $49 from $45.

Bank of America (BAC): The Dow (^DJI) stock is upgraded to Overweight from Neutral at Atlantic Equities, which takes its target price up by $4 to $12. Improving capital ratios and lower costs are key catalysts.

Check Point Software (CHKP): Bank of America-Merrill Lynch lifts the stock to Buy from Neutral.

Dollar Tree (DLTR): Shares are upgraded to Conviction Buy from Neutral at Goldman amid a long-term growth opportunity. The price objective is $48.

Eagle Bancorp (EGBN): The name is now Outperform from Perform at FBR Capital.

Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) The social media stock, up 14.4% before the bell, is boosted to Buy from Neutral at Bank of America-Merrill Lynch, to Buy from Hold with a $26 target at Stifel Nicolaus, and to Buy from Neutral at Citigroup, which wrote in a note: "What investors have for the first time since the [initial public offering] is fundamentals acceleration WITH a reasonable valuation."

First Industrial Realty (FR): FR is now Neutral from Underperform at JPMorgan.

Hartford Financial (HIG): Credit Suisse adds the insurance outfit to its US Focus List.

IberiaBank (IBKC): The stock gets moved to Outperform from Market Perform at Keefe Bruyette.

Molycorp (MCP): Shares are boosted to Buy from Hold at Dahlman Rose, whose target price is $14.07.

Myriad Genetics (MYGN): MYGN is moved to Buy from Neutral at Bank of America-Merrill.

RF Micro Devices (RFMD): Shares are raised to Outperform at Northland Securities after a better than expected earnings report. The objective is $7.

Whirlpool (WHR): The name, a stellar performer yesterday, is now Buy from Sell at Goldman Sachs, which cites margin growth in North America and easing commodity prices among other favorable factors. The target is also taken up considerably, to $110 from $57.

(See also: New Stock Coverage: Black Hills Can Scale Fiscal Cliff and Stock Downgrades: Trouble Brewing at Anheuser-Busch.)
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