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Stock Upgrades: Deckers Outdoor Is a Shoo-In

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

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In my next life, I'm coming back as Tom Brady. The heartthrob quarterback is married to supermodel Gisele Bundchen -- and as if that wasn't enough, his stock options are set to surge. Mr. Brady endorses the Aussie Ugg boots owned by footwear and apparel firm Deckers Outdoor (NASDAQ:DECK). Its equity advanced 8.20% last week after reporting an 11.7% increase in revenue, beating Street estimates. Shares are currently showing further strength ahead of the open after scoring a broker boost this morning.
 
It was deliciously ironic that the Dow (INDEXDJX:.DJI) dropped sharply due to Russian saber rattling on Friday, the same day that Nokia (NYSE:NOKfinally hung up its famous cell phones. After all, it was Mikhail Gorbachev who put the Finish telecom titan on the map in 1987, even as he helped to unwind the Cold War. (With due deference to Wall StreetGordon Gekko owned merely the world's second most famous brick that year.) Two years later came the fall of the Berlin Wall; other iconic events to occur in '89 included the poison pill's creation, the approval of Botox, and Cher managing to "Turn Back Time." Last week, all three events reached their apotheosis in Allergan's (NYSE:AGN) 25.56% surge. Elsewhere, putting lipstick on a pig proved profitable everywhere except China. This, as cosmetics companies Revlon (NYSE:REV) and Elizabeth Arden (NASDAQ:RDEN) rose a respective 12.19% and 27.20%, while Harley-Davidson (NYSE:HOG), up 7.52%, hit a seven-year high. And, in the iconic words of Porky, "That's all, folks."
 
Today in economics, March pending home sales are expected to tick up from February's pace at 10:00 a.m. EDT. On the corporate front, another full week for first-quarter earnings announcements kicks off with the endlessly contentious Herbalife (NYSE:HLF) releasing results after the closing bell.
 
Now let's analyze this morning's analyst upgrades, a group that encompasses not only our aforementioned Deckers Outdoor but a British pharmaceutical firm that's in the news again.

AstraZeneca (NYSE:AZN): The UK drug stock, whose shares are surging some 17.07% this morning amid increased talk of a $100 billion buyout by Pfizer (NYSE:PFE), gets upgraded to Hold from Sell at Societe Generale.
 
Autodesk (NASDAQ:ADSK): Pacific Crest increases its investment assessment to Outperform from Perform.
 
BlackBerry (NASDAQ:BBRY): Shares are upgraded to Perform from Underperform at Oppenheimer, which has hopes for the tech firm's enterprise and messaging franchises.
 
Deckers Outdoor: The stock is now Neutral from Underperform at Credit Suisse. Its price objective also increases substantially, to $82 from $61.
 
Ford Motor (NYSE:F): Brokerage boutique Craig Hallum hoists the car company to Buy from Hold.
 
Hornbeck Offshore (NYSE:HOS): Shares are raised to Buy from Hold at Wunderlich, which says new rig deliveries should drive demand. The target price, previously $47, increases by $8.
 
Iconix Brand (NASDAQ:ICON): The Benchmark Company upgrades shares to Buy from Hold.
 
LCNB Corp (NASDAQ:LCNB): FBR Capital boosts the regional financial firm to Outperform from Perform with a $19 price target, hailing its hefty dividend yield among other favorable factors.
 
Masco (NYSE:MAS): MAS gets moved to Buy from Neutral at Citigroup.
 
Meritage Homes (NYSE:MTH): The stock is now Neutral from Sell at UBS, whose price objective is $39.
 
Newmont Mining (NYSE:NEM): CIBC World Markets upgrades the Colorado commodity company to Perform from Underperform. Its price target also gets taken up to $33 from $27.
 
TD Ameritrade (NYSE:AMTD): The discount broker gets an Outperform-from Market-Perform boost by Sanford Bernstein.
 
Also see:

New Stock Coverage: Autobytel No Longer Partying Like It's 1999

Stock Downgrades: DreamWorks Awakes to Monday Morning Nightmare

No positions in stocks mentioned.
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