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Stock Upgrades: Mr. Market, an Aging Bull, Needs the Grey Lady

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

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Wall Street's bull was unshackled for the first time in three years, and right on cue the Dow (INDEXDJX:.DJI) nose-dives 99 points. Clearly, this bovine doesn't pass the smell test, and the statue certainly didn't do anything for Bank of America (NYSE:BAC), whose Merrill Lynch bull is the most famous in all of finance. Hospital operator Tenet Healthcare (NYSE:THC), up 5.22%, topped the S&P 500 Index (INDEXSP:.INX) for much of the day, but such facilities remain terrible places in which to be sick. Every other sector besides health care ended lower, with King Digital Entertainment (NYSE:KING) falling 15.56% on its initial public offering. Some fans of its Candy Crush Saga appear to be quite literally insane, but beyond a core clientele that deserves to be committed, one wonders where its recurring revenue growth will come from. Still, things often improve following a fiasco IPO. Just ask Facebook (NASDAQ:FB). Actually, scratch that, after the stock slid 6.94% for its single worst showing since September 2012. GPS giant Garmin (NASDAQ:GRMN) gained 1.65% on a broker boost. In Europe, such devices, known there as "sat navs," are so temperamental that they once sent a Belgian granny 900 miles off course. Yesterday the world's attention was once more on the cemeteries of her homeland, where the "War to End Wars" began a century ago.
 
Today in economics, pending home sales for February are expected to contract from the prior month's pace at 10:00 a.m. Eastern. In earnings action, expect announcements out of Accenture (NYSE:ACN), Lululemon Athletica (NASDAQ:LULU), and Signet Jewelers (NYSE:SIG).
 
Ansys, Inc. (NASDAQ:ANSS): Shares are now Outperform from Neutral with Wedbush, which also increases its price objective to $88 from $86.
 
BankUnited (NYSE:BKU): Morgan Stanley moves the stock to Overweight from Equal-Weight. Its target price is also taken up, by $7 to $39.
 
BMW Group (OTCMKTS:BAMXY): The German car giant, on a stellar recent run, gets upgraded to Neutral from Underperform by BNP Paribas.
 
Federated Investors (NYSE:FII): Sterne Agee raises its recommendation to Neutral from Underperform.
 
New York Times (NYSE:NYT): The newspaper company known as "The Grey Lady" gets upgraded to Overweight from Equal Weight at Evercore after it unveiled more mobile initiatives on Wednesday.
 
OAO Gazprom (OTCMKTS:OGZPY): Will this satisfy you, President Putin? Bank of America Merrill Lynch lifts the Russian energy giant to Buy from Neutral. Its target also increases, to an unusually precise $9.10 from $8.75.
 
PVH Corp. (NYSE:PVH): The clothing company, long known as Phillips-Van Heusen, saw its stock surge 3.57% even amid yesterday's red ink. Today it gets added to the Conviction Buy list at Goldman Sachs, which has high hopes for its 2013 purchase of rival apparel outfit Warnaco. Its stock is advancing further ahead of this morning's opening bell as a result.
 
Standard Chartered (OTCMKTS:SCBFF): Berenberg boosts the financial firm to Hold from Sell.
 
Also see:

New Stock Coverage: Biotechs Anemic? Amgen Is Tougher Than Iron

Stock Downgrades: When It Rains, It Pours for Citigroup

No positions in stocks mentioned.
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