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Stock Upgrades: This Halloween, Sink Your Teeth Into Chuy's


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

Wall Street, where lately every day has been Christmas, didn't react at all well to being told its Wolf - originally poised to appear in mid-November - won't now arrive until December 25. The Dow (INDEXDJX:.DJI) thus retreated from recent records as a man with a white beard (Ben Bernanke, not Kris Kringle) made shareholders skittish. It was indeed a day to forget for the Fed head - his as his newspaper of choice, Financial Times publisher Pearson (NYSE:PSO) plunged an especially precipitous 4.06%. Amid much red ink elsewhere, Atlas Financial (NASDAQ:AFH) advanced 3.41% to a historic high, and on Charles Atlas' birthday. (As for Ayn Rand, she simply shrugged.) Also bucking a bad day was one discount retailer, which rose 2.16%. Send some stock options to that Target (NYSE:TGT) lady who just called it quits in her 96th year. And an unloved owner IAC/InterActiveCorp(NASDAQ:IACI) imploded 8.48%, even as icy Norway, never hitherto thought of as a hotbed of romance, is encouraging its own Date Night to counter a troubling trend toward divorce.

It's another full day for third quarter earnings announcements, with American International Group (NYSE:AIG), BNP Paribas (OTCMKTS:BNPQY), Clorox (NYSE:CLX), Discovery Communications (NASDAQ:DISCA), Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM), First Solar (NASDAQ:FSLR), MasterCard (NYSE:MA), Sony (NYSE:SNE), and Time Warner Cable (NYSE:TWC), all expected to release results.

Chuy's Holdings (NASDAQ:CHUY): Even Dracula can count - the Tex Mex restaurant operator did the Transylvania tumble yesterday, falling 3.43%. Fangs for the memories? This morning, all that is forgotten, as Raymond James raises its recommendation to Market Perform from Underperform after earnings.

Facebook (NASDAQ:FB): Talk about two faced - shares were also downgraded this morning. First, the good news. It is upgraded to Buy from Hold at Pivotal Research. The price objective, previously $48, increases to $57.

Expedia (NASDAQ:EXPE): Bank of America-Merrill Lynch lifts the online travel outfit to Buy from Neutral.

Hess Corp. (NYSE:HES): Shares are now Outperform from Neutral at Credit Suisse.

ICON (NASDAQ:ICLR): ICLR is increased to Strong Buy from Buy at ISI Group, whose target is $49.

Itron (NASDAQ:ITRI): Brean Capital boosts its rating to Hold from Sell.

Microchip (NASDAQ:MCHP): MCHP is moved to Buy from Neutral at Mizuho, whose objective increases to $47 after the company's successful acquisition integration.

SM Energy (NYSE:SM): Robert W. Baird raises its rating to Outperform from Perform with a new $110 target amid high hopes for its Permian Basin assets.

Thoratec (NASDAQ:THOR): Shares get upgraded to Buy from Hold at Canaccord Genuity.

Volkswagen (OTCMKTS:VLKAY): Citigroup takes the giant German car company to Buy from Neutral.

(See also: Stock Downgrades: Halloween Mask? It's Facebook That Frightens People and New Stock Coverage: Casella Waste Turns Trash Into Cash)
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