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

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

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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 Match.com 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)
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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