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Stock Ratings Changes: Time to Say Bye-Bye (Not Buy-Buy) Birdie on Twitter


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

Such was Wall Street's buying binge on Boxing Day that World Wrestling Entertainment (NYSE:WWE) even joined in the fun, finishing up 2.27% at a fresh multi-year peak as December 26 lived up to its billing as the best of the entire year in equities. Capitalism curiously took its cue from communist China, which partied like it was Chairman Mao's 120th birthday after the country's always-infallible department of data announced overnight it expects annual economic growth of 7.6%. US stock markets subsequently rose to records, respectively the 44th and 50th of a remarkable 2013 for the S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) and Dow Average (INDEXDJX:.DJI).

Indeed the former is on course for its best showing since 1997, an increasingly distant age when Bryant Gumbel still held court on Today and long-forgotten Stratton Oakmont went to court with the Wolf. Speaking of the aforesaid Jordan Belfort, his dwarf-tossing antics came back to bite him when the equally Lilliputian Hobbit extracted its revenge on Martin Scorsese's movie at the box office. This as the Russell 2000 Index (INDEXRUSSELL:RUT) hit an unprecedented 65th historic high in a single calendar year. Elsewhere, a little blue bird tells me messaging service Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) could be in trouble today after surging some 76.4% in December alone.

Abroad, Japan's Nikkei (INDEXNIKKEI:NI225) finished at its fourth consecutive six-year high, as the famously fork-tongued Joe Isuzu (OTCMKTS:ISUZY) saw his car company surge some 5.75%. And Canada's beleaguered BlackBerry (NASDAQ:BBRY) asked Justin, "Who you gonna Believe, me or your lying eyes?" after the fallen tech titan -- which once rejected Mr. Bieber and is now racing him to see who will retire first -- imploded another 8.67%.

FirstEnergy (NYSE:FE): The electric utility is upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform with Wells Fargo, sending its stock up 3.34% as we speak.

Infinity Property & Casualty Corp. (NASDAQ:IPCC): In new coverage, Keefe Bruyette assigns an Outperform on the insurance outfit. Its price objective is $86.

Pantry, Inc. (NASDAQ:PTRY): The Benchmark Company cuts Pantry, Inc. stock to Hold from Buy due to valuation concerns. Its price objective actually increases, however, by $2 to $18.

Roundy's (NYSE:RNDY): Grocery stock Roundy's gets resumed with a Neutral in new coverage at Credit Suisse.

Twitter (NYSE:TWTR): (Hat tip to a fine Ann Margret film for today's title.) It may be back down to Earth for Twitter's recently soaring mountain bluebird today. This after getting moved to Underperform from Neutral at Macquarie, which maintains its $46 objective. The stock, up 4.79% yesterday to a post-Initial Public Offering peak, has been on a remarkable run recently. Accordingly, analyst Ben Schachter wrote in a note that, "…we believe nothing has changed over the last 15 days to justify the rise in valuation." As a result of the rating reduction, Twitter shares are tumbling 3.83% this morning.

Westlake Chemical (NYSE:WLK): Shares are now Positive from Negative at Susquehanna. Its price objective, previously $118, increases to $145.
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