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Stock Upgrades: HSBC Holdings Rides The Asian Tiger


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

Amy Adams is about to unleash the Me Decade upon us in American Hustle, and a cartoon in the current New Yorker similarly celebrates the heyday of Studio 54. Yet US markets rose after St. Louis Fed head James Bullard emphatically told CNBC the central bank's unending monetary morphine won't unleash a renewed bout of Carter-style inflation. Speaking of The New Yorker, its new cover mocks the antediluvian era of hard disks. A contrary indicator, perhaps? Old school AOL Inc. (NYSE:AOL), up again this morning, promptly saw its stock surge 5.56%. And if the 1990s are calling and want their technology back, that's just fine for United Online (NASDAQ:UNTD) after the owner of dial-up dinosaur NetZero jumped 16.77%. Among standout stocks, Beantown's own Boston Beer (NYSE:SAM) gained 2.29% on a broker boost. This as Thorsten Heins (unrelated to the baked bean behemoth, although he does bear a passing resemblance to Mr. Bean) became a has-been at BlackBerry (NASDAQ:BBRY), which slumped 16.41% on his exit. Mr. Spock's Vulcan Materials (NYSE:VMC) advanced 7.66% to top the entire S&P 500 Index (INDEXSP:.INX) but his Star Trek traveling companion was hoist with his own Picard after Time Warner Cable (NYSE:TWC) scored an analyst upgrade.

In terms of events that may move US markets this morning, today at 10:00 a.m. Eastern, economists call for a fall in The Institute for Supply Management's September services index. Regarding specific stocks, expect quarterly earnings announcements out of AOL Inc. (NYSE:AOL), BMW Group (OTCMKTS:BAMXY), CVS Caremark (NYSE:CVS), LiveNation Entertainment (NYSE:LYV), Michael Kors (NYSE:KORS), Mosaic (NYSE:MOS), OpenTable (NASDAQ:OPEN), Sturm Ruger (NYSE:RGR), Tesla Motors (NASDAQ:TSLA), T-Mobile (NYSE:TMUS), Twenty-First Century Fox (NASDAQ:FOXA), and Zillow (NASDAQ:Z).

BlackBerry (NASDAQ:BBRY): German and French people tend not to agree on much, but today their biggest banks are united in their increased optimism on BlackBerry, which slumped some 16.41% yesterday. BlackBerry shares are upgraded to Hold from Sell by both Deutsche Bank and Société Générale. Please read here for more on BlackBerry.

GT Advanced Technologies (NASDAQ:GTAT): Bank of America-Merrill Lynch lifts the stock, surging some 22.91% as I write, to Buy from Neutral. GT Advanced Technologies said it will produce sapphire-made products for a fresh Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) facility in Arizona. Piper Jaffray (Overweight from Neutral, increasing its price objective by a substantial $7 to $12) adds to the adulation.

Holly Energy Partners (NYSE:HEP): HEP is now Neutral from Sell at Goldman Sachs.

HSBC Holdings (NYSE:HBC): HSBC Holdings is London-based but officially answers to the name of The Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation. As such, the company derives a good deal of its growth from the "Asian Tiger" economies. Shares in HSBC Holdings, up 2.35% yesterday, are this morning moved to Buy from Neutral at Mizuho after a well-received third quarter earnings announcement.

LATAM Airlines (NYSE:LFL): LFL is lifted to Outperform from Neutral at Credit Suisse.

Mediaset (OTCMKTS:MDIUY): The media empire controlled by embattled ex-Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi gets upgraded all the way to Conviction Buy from Neutral at Goldman Sachs.

MGIC Investment (NYSE:MTG): Shares are upgraded to Outperform from Perform at Keefe Bruyette

SunEdison (NYSE:SUNE): SunEdison stock is now Overweight from Neutral at Piper Jaffray, which takes its target price to $17 from $6. SunEdison shares are up an astonishing 314.98% in the past 12 months.

TTM Technologies (NASDAQ:TTMI): TTMI is taken to Overweight from Neutral at JPMorgan.

Unum Group (NYSE:UNM): The stock is upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Sterne Agee.

(See also: New Stock Coverage: Is the New York Times a Paper Tiger? and Stock Downgrades: Troubled Times for Kellogg's Tony the Tiger)
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