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Stock Upgrades: Expedia Is Going Places


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

MINYANVILLE ORIGINAL Apple (AAPL) fell 1.18% ahead of its earnings announcement, which revealed weak fourth quarter iPad sales of only 14 million. The tablet device is clearly suffering from a send-in-the-clowns - sorry, clones - syndrome, with competitors including Kindle and Galaxy continuing to grab market share.

Arch rival Microsoft (MSFT) meanwhile gave up 0.08% before its own big introduction of Windows 8, unveiled at a gala event on Manhattan's Pier 57. (The same place the Titanic was supposed to arrive at; just sayin'.)

Carrie Bradshaw and Imelda Marcos each recoiled in horror as Crocs Inc. (CROX), disowned and unloved, tumbled 21.19% to a new low, while fellow footwear firm Deckers Outdoor (DECK) is skidding 16.34% before today's opening bell. A fine time, then, for the world's biggest shoe store to open. Today in economics, at 9:55 a.m. Eastern we get the University of Michigan's final figure for October consumer confidence.

A frenzied week for quarterly earnings announcements comes to a close with China Life Insurance (LFC), Comcast (CMCSA), Ericsson (ERIC), First Solar (FSLR), Legg Mason (LM), Merck (MRK), Moody's (MCO), NTT Docomo (DCM), Petrobras (PBR), Statoil (STO), and Weyerhaeuser (WY) all due to report results.

Agnico-Eagle Mines (AEM): AEM gets upgraded to Sector Perform from Underperform at CIBC World Markets.

AllianceBernstein (AB): Morgan Stanley moves the stock to Equal-Weight from Underweight.

CarMax (KMX): Shares are increased to Outperform from Market Perform at Credit Suisse.

Cerner (CERN): Jefferies juices its recommendation to Buy from Hold, sending shares up before the bell.

CME Group (CME): CME is raised to Outperform from Market Perform at Raymond James.

Coinstar (CSTR) Shares are boosted to Buy from Neutral with a new $50 price objective Compass Point, which highlights pricing power, rising market share, and substantial cash generation capabilities.

Dime Community Bancshares (DCOM): DCOM is upgraded to Outperform from Underperform at Raymond James.

Essex Property (ESS): The residential REIT is raised to Buy from Neutral at Bank of America-Merrill Lynch.

Expedia (NASDAQ:EXPE): Raymond James raises its recommendation on the online travel outfit to Outperform from Market Perform with a $70 target price. Among its catalysts are strong international bookings and upgraded technology platforms. Shares are surging some 17.1% before this morning's opening bell.

Expeditors International (EXPE): The equity gets added to Goldman Sachs' list of Conviction Buys.

Hercules Offshore (HERO): The small cap gets a Buy-from-Hold hoist at Dahlman Rose, whose price objective is $6.50. The Gulf of Mexico jackup market is expected to continue to strengthen in upcoming quarters.

Huntington Bancshares (HBAN): HBAN is upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Citigroup.

Liquidity Services (LQDT): Shares are taken to Buy from Neutral at Bank of America-Merrill Lynch.

Marathon Petroleum (MPC): MRO is moved to Outperform from Neutral at Credit Suisse, which takes its target up by $5 to $75.

Mylan Labs (MYL): Canaccord Genuity gives a Buy-from-Hold lift to MYL.

NetSuite (N): N is now Outperform from Market Perform at Northland Securities, which issues a $70 price objective.

Owens-Illinois (OI): Shares get lifted to Buy from Neutral at Bank of America-Merrill Lynch.

PulteGroup (PHM): The homebuilder is hoisted to Outperform from Sector Perform at RBC Capital.

Rogers Communications (RCI): Shares are now Neutral from Sell at Goldman Sachs.

SAP AG (SAP): Bank of America-Merrill moves the German enterprise software giant to Buy from Neutral.

StellarOne (STEL): STEL is upgraded to Strong Buy from Outperform at Raymond James.

Target (TGT): Shares are taken to Buy from Neutral by Buckingham.

(See also: Stock Downgrades: Electronic Arts Not a Pretty Picture and New Stock Coverage: Black Diamond Looks Like a Gem.)
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