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Stock Upgrades: Slim Jim Owner ConAgra Poised to Plump Up

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

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MINYANVILLE ORIGINAL The House Speaker's complaint of leaky phone calls certainly assisted liquid assets in the telecom sector, yesterday's standout performer with a gain of 0.9%. All that hot air over Washington also clearly helped Disney (DIS), which rose 1.06% even as a helium shortage forced it to stop selling Mickey Mouse balloons. Its Anaheim neighbor Pacific Sunwear Of California (PSUN) added 12.50% amid accumulating evidence that the Sunshine State's future is indeed bright enough to warrant ware shades, in the words of an iconic '80s song. And Guess Inc. (GES), which was similarly big back in the Reagan era, went Back to the Future with an upgrade-inspired 11.94% increase.

Today in economics, analysts project a slight uptick in November's Chicago Purchasing Managers Index at 9:45 a.m. Eastern. On the earnings front, results are expected out of Genesco (GCO), Star Bulk Carriers (SBLK), United Natural Foods (UNFI), and WhiteWave Foods (WWAV).

Active Network (ACTV): Shares are boosted by an unusual 180 degrees, to Buy from Underperform, at Bank of America-Merrill Lynch, which cites an attractive valuation. Its price objective is $9.

Bel Fuse (BELFB): Saying that restructuring should yield further margin improvement, Needham boosts the name to Buy from Hold with a target of $19.

ConAgra Foods (NYSE:CAG): CAG gets upgraded to Buy from Hold at Jefferies, which is optimistic about its pending purchase of Ralcorp (RAH). The target is taken to $35 from $29.

Lockheed Martin (LMT): Shares are lifted to Fair Value from Sell at CRT Capital, which cites a compelling dividend yield.

LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton (PINK:LVMUY): The stock is up in London on an upgrade by Goldman Sachs to Buy from Neutral.

St. Jude Medical (STJ): Shares are moved to Buy from Neutral at Mizuho, which expects February 2013 investor meeting to be a share price catalyst

Ulta Salon Cosmetics & Fragrance (ULTA): The name is now Outperform from Market Perform with Wells Fargo.

(See also: New Stock Coverage: Viagra Maker Pfizer Boosted by Love and Other Drugs and Stock Downgrades: Yum Brands Banished From the Menu.)
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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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