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Stock Upgrades: Alcoa Proves You Don't Need Paris When There's Pittsburgh

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

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So the Denver Broncos have reached their first Super Bowl since winning it in 1999. That's appropriate, as Nasdaq (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) last week tried its best to party like it was, well, you know - the best year in its entire history. Even as the Dow (INDEXDJX:.DJI) barely budged, the tech-heavy index outperformed with AOL Inc (NYSE:AOL) - poster child for the market's millennial madness - advancing 12.22% to a fresh best. (Who's laughing now, Time Warner (NYSE:TWX), which all of a sudden can't afford the rent?) Scotch maker Beam Inc. (NYSE:BEAM) jumped 24% to make big bucks for long-beleaguered Bill Ackman. The Scots have a saying that, "When God made time, he made plenty of it," and time may yet be kind to the billionaire's thus far losing short bet on Herbalife (NYSE:HLF), for last week its stock tumbled 12.11%. Moving from Pershing Square to Tahrir's version, last year's top S&P 500 Index (INDEXSP:.INX) name Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) scored its first Oscar nomination with Egypt's The Square. (It's a scheming movie from the land of Pyramids, if you must know, Bill.) Elsewhere, a broker boost sent Botox maker Allergan (NYSE:AGN) to an all-time high on Friday, although who needs its principal product when Adobe (NASDAQ:ADBE) Photoshop is so in Vogue? Marissa Mayer, who struck a pose in the same publication not so long ago fired her number two Henrique de Castro after paying the Portuguese $109 million for 14 months on the job. "Start practicing your yodel!" she wrote on page 13 of his employment contract. Yodel? These days, Yahoo can't even Singh.

There aren't any top-tier economic data due to move US stock markets today. Earnings season arrives in earnest, however, with Advanced Micro Devices (NYSE:AMD), Baker Hughes (NYSE:BHI), Cree (NASDAQ:CREE), Delta Air Lines (NYSE:DAL), Halliburton (NYSE:HAL), International Business Machines (NYSE:IBM), Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ), SAP AG (NYSE:SAP), Texas Instruments (NASDAQ:TXN), Travelers (NYSE:TRV), Unilever (NYSE:UN), Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ), and Xilinx (NASDAQ:XLNX) all releasing results.

Alcoa (NYSE:AA): The firm founded in Steel City in 1888 just enjoyed a great week, with its stock up 12.36%. More good news today, as it gets upgraded to Overweight from Neutral at JPMorgan. Its target price, previously $9, increases to $15 amid a supply contraction.

Altera (NASDAQ:ALTR): JPMorgan moves the tech stock to Overweight from Neutral, taking its target price up by $6 to $38.

Bloomin' Brands (NASDAQ:BLMN): Bloomin' Brands, the owner of Outback Steakhouse, sees its stock boosted to Overweight from Neutral at JPMorgan.

Boston Scientific (NYSE:BSX): Shares are now Overweight from Neutral at Piper Jaffray, whose amended target price is $18.

Burger King (NYSE:BKW): Goldman Sachs upgrades the fast food firm to Conviction Buy from Buy.

Comerica (NYSE:CMA): Shares are upgraded to Perform from Underperform at Keefe Bruyette.

DIRECTV (NASDAQ:DTV): The stock is now Outperform from Neutral at Macquarie.

Gap Inc. (NYSE:GPS): It's the usual 180-degree (Buy from Underperform) increase for the khaki king at Sterne Agee.

Motorola Solutions (NYSE:MSI): Motorola Solutions stock is now Buy from Neutral at Citigroup, whose new target is $75.

NVIDIA (NASDAQ:NVDA): Shares are upgraded to Equal Weight from Underweight at Evercore.

Quintiles Transnational (NYSE:Q): Goldman Sachs raises its rating to Buy from Neutral with a $58 price objective.

Seagate Technology (NASDAQ:STX): Shares are moved to Overweight from Equal Weight at Morgan Stanley.

Select Comfort (NASDAQ:SCSS): Raymond James raises the mattress maker to Strong Buy from an already upbeat Outperform.

Steven Madden (NASDAQ:SHOO): Shares are hoisted to Buy from Hold at BB&T Capital.

Stratasys (NASDAQ:SSYS): Credit Suisse takes the 3D printer name to Outperform from Neutral after recent share price volatility.

Swift Transportation (NYSE:SWFT): Shares get upgraded to Overweight from Equal Weight by Barclays, which takes its target to $26 from $22.

See also:

New Stock Coverage: Paris Is Happy With Hilton


Stock Downgrades: Apple Is Pooh-Poohed in Paris
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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