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Stock Upgrades: Con Edison Can Be Your Utility Infielder


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

Warren Buffett wrote a letter, but it was another incomparable wordsmith, also aged 83, who most moved markets on Monday. "Where ya going? Barcelona" said Stephen Sondheim's elegiac ode, and yesterday, Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) surged 3.19% to a fresh best after Mark Zuckerberg paid homage to (and in) Catalonia by insisting he did not overpay when buying WhatsApp for $19 billion. (He presumably flew there first class on American Airlines (NASDAQ:AAL), itself at a new peak after ending up 1.33 %.) Thus did Dow Industrials (INDEXDJX:.DJI) advance by triple digits as S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) shares reached an intraday record. Men's Wearhouse (NYSE:MW) gained 7.54% after upping its bid for Jos. A. Bank (NASDAQ:JOSB), which jumped 9.06%; no comment from the drag queen who concluded trading. It was the end of the line for Moviefone, which Tim Armstrong's AOL Inc. (NYSE:AOL) paid $388 million for in 1999. Mr. Armstrong, already in big trouble for his recent "distressed babies" remark, had better watch out. For, as a Penn Station-patrolling New York City cop can freshly attest, those tiny tots pack a punch. Moviefone was much beloved of Cosmo Kramer of course, but did a Dingell really eat my baby, as his accomplice Elaine claimed? Yesterday Michigan's John Dingell, America's longest-serving Congressman, finally called it quits, having served since 1955. And who'd have thought that the tax code would be more exciting than Kate Upton? H&R Block (NYSE:HRB) and the supermodel's Target Corp (NYSE:TGT) each received analyst initiations yesterday and I, in my infinite wisdom, erroneously bet that the retailer would be a sexier story. That'll teach me; the former stock surged 1.51% even as the latter lost 0.18%.

Today in economics, the Conference Board's consumer sentiment survey for February is forecast to fall at 10:00 a.m. Eastern. On the earnings front, American Tower (NYSE:AMT), First Solar (NASDAQ:FSLR), Home Depot (NYSE:HD), and T-Mobile (NYSE:TMUS) all release results.

African Barrick Gold (OTCMKTS:ABGLY): Canaccord Genuity gives the commodity company a Buy-from-Hold boost.

Consolidated Edison (NYSE:ED): A second upgrade in as many days for this Big Apple-based electric utility, whose sky-high bills have been the bane of us Manhattanites in this winter without end. Today it is increased to Overweight from Equal Weight by Barclays.

Dick's Sporting Goods (NYSE:DKS): Belus Capital Advisors raises its rating on the retailer to Hold from Sell with an amended price objective of $54.

Golden Star Resources (NYSEMKT:GSS): The microcap gets upgraded to Hold from Sell at Canaccord Genuity.

Harsco (NYSE:HSC): HSC is hoisted to Buy from Hold at Argus.

Kinross Gold (NYSE:KGC): Canaccord lifts its investment opinion on the equity to Buy from Hold.

Nordson (NASDAQ:NDSN): NDSN is now Outperform from Perform with an $85 target price at Oppenheimer, which hails the firm's forward-looking strategy.

Peoples Bancorp (NASDAQ:PEBO): Raymond James juices its fellow financial firm to Strong Buy from Buy.

Triquint Semiconductor (NASDAQ:TQNT): More good news for this tech name, which surged some 26.11% on Monday after a merger. Today it is taken to Buy from Hold at Brean Capital, whose price objective is $16.

Verizon (NYSE:VZ): The stock, yesterday's poorest performing blue chip with a 2.20% tumble, is today added to Bank of America-Merrill Lynch's US 1 list of favored equities.

Washington REIT (NYSE:WRE): Stifel raises its recommendation on the retail Real Estate Investment Trust to Buy from Hold with a $27 target amid an impressive discount to NAV (Net Asset Value).

Also see:

New Stock Coverage: Splash the Cash on Malibu Boats (MV PRO article)

Stock Downgrades: Don't Be Dumb -- Get Out of Einstein (MV PRO article)
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