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Stock Upgrades: E TRADE Babies Are Set for Life


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

It's a funny old world when the home address of capitalism takes its orders from 1.3 billion communists who are even cheaper than IKEA, but dodgy manufacturing data in China did indeed set the tone for a terrible session on Wall Street. US stock markets thus continued their difficult start to 2014, with a triple-digit drop in the Dow (INDEXDJX:.DJI) taking it to a one-month low. A few equities did buck Thursday's remorseless tide of red ink, with Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) ending up 0.85% after Carl Icahn took to Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) to announce an investment worth several hundred million dollars. If you think you've seen this movie before - the activist did the exact same thing only twenty-four hours earlier - it was obviously on Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX), which rode both a broker boost and boffo earnings to surge an S&P 500 Index (INDEXSP:.INX)-best 16.48%. Mr. Ichan is of course is famous for saying, "If you want a friend, get a dog," but it seems even he needs a PayPal. Its owner eBay Inc. (NASDAQ:EBAY) shrugged off a rating reduction to rise 0.97%. Other asset classes predictably benefited from the malaise in equities, not least a suddenly resurgent bond market. Mohamed El-Erian may want to reconsider calling it quits at Pimco, for now it appears even the Biebs is a fan of fixed income. Bullion, likewise left for dead not long ago, enjoyed its best session in three months and has now surged some 5.05% in January alone. A nice anniversary present, that, as 166 years ago today a glint of gold rewrote world history.

There aren't any economic events that may move US stock markets today, but we get another battery of earnings announcements. Bristol-Myers Squibb (NYSE:BMY), Covidien (NYSE:COV), Honeywell (NYSE:HON), Kansas City Southern (NYSE:KSU), Kimberly-Clark (NYSE:KMB), Procter & Gamble (NYSE:PG), Stanley Black & Decker (NYSE:SWK), State Street (NYSE:STT), WW Grainger (NYSE:GWW), and Xerox (NYSE:XRX) are all expected to release results.

Angie's List (NASDAQ:ANGI): Angie's List stock gets a Buy-from-Neutral boost at brokerage boutique B. Riley & Co, sending it up on what otherwise looks like another difficult start for equity markets this morning.

BancorpSouth (NYSE:BXS): Shares are now Buy from Hold with Wunderlich, which cites a couple of recent accretive acquisitions. Its price objective, previously $26, increases to $30.

Electronic Arts (NASDAQ:EA): Hudson Square Research raises Electronic Arts stock to Hold from Sell.

E TRADE Financial (NASDAQ:ETFC): Those cute kids at E TRADE Financial clearly have it made, and may already be able to retire. The stock, which has surged some 104.87% in the past year alone, is today taken to Buy from Neutral at Compass Point. The company is an attractive takeover candidate, in the analyst's opinion. The target price also increases, by $9 to $25.

Harman International (NYSE:HAR): Harman International is hoisted to Overweight from Equal Weight by Barclays.

Jacobs Engineering (NYSE:JEC): Jefferies juices JEC to Buy from Hold.

Juniper Networks (NYSE:JNPR): Shares, already up sharply this morning, get moved to Outperform from Market Perform with William Blair.

Nokia (NYSE:NOK): Société Générale raises Nokia stock, which yesterday endured its single worst session in 16 months, to Buy from Hold.

Disclosure: Minyanville Media has a business relationship with E*Trade.

See also:

Stock Downgrades: You're Not Safe With Citigroup

New Stock Coverage: You Too Can Be Slim With Chipotle Mexican Grill
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