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Stock Upgrades: PC Era Over? Hewlett-Packard Didn't Get the Memo

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

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Guys and dolls helped stocks snap out of their slump as a 27.78% surge in Men's Wearhouse (NYSE:MW) topped the NYSE and Janet Yellen was nominated as the Fed's first female head in history. Let Putin appoint Elvira, Mistress of the dark to lead his central bank; I'll take our white-haired wonder woman any day of the week. (Incidentally, if you think capitalism has a 1% problem, it's nothing like the wealth concentration in that longtime communist country according to a report released, ironically enough, on Lenin's birthday.)

There were no half-wits yesterday as Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) jumped 8.92% to best all blue chips thanks to Ms. Whitman, while Meredith Whitney made a major career move. Meanwhile Whitney Tilson's favorite short K12 Inc. (NYSE:LRN) cratered an NYSE-worst 38.44% after being sent to the principal's office.

Today's quarterly earnings announcements are due to include Farmer Brothers (NASDAQ:FARM), Lindsay Corporation (NYSE:LNN), Micron Technology (NASDAQ:MU), and Safeway (NYSE:SWY).

ADTRAN (NASDAQ:ADTN): Shares are now Neutral from Sell at UBS.

Canadian Natural Resource (NYSE:CNQ): Canaccord Genuity gives the energy outfit a Buy-from-Hold boost.

Capital One Financial (NYSE:COF): COF gets upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Guggenheim.

Check Point Software (NASDAQ:CHKP): Cowen moves the stock to Outperform from Market Perform.

Discover Financial Services (NYSE:DFS): The equity is now Buy from Neutral at Citigroup.

Hewlett-Packard (HPQ): The personal computer powerhouse, up 8.92% yesterday even as PC sales continue to plunge, is upgraded to Neutral from Underperform at Mizuho. Its price objective, previously $18, increases to $22 after an upbeat analyst meeting that highlighted good growth opportunities. Needham (Hold from Underperform) and RBC Capital (Sector Perform from Underperform) add to the love fest, and shares are up again this morning as a result.

Infoblox (NYSE:BLOX): BLOX gets boosted to Buy from Neutral at Sterne Agee.

KAR Auction Services (NYSE:KAR): Goldman Sachs gives the auto outfit a boost to Buy from Neutral.

Office Depot (NYSE:ODP): Citing merger synergies, Janney juices its investment assessment to Buy from Neutral.

Stratasys (NASDAQ:SSYS): JPMorgan moves the 3D printing outfit to Overweight from Neutral.

Telecom Italia (NYSE:TI): Shares get raised to Sector Perform from Underperform at RBC Capital.

Tiffany (NYSE:TIF): Amid potential profit opportunities overseas, Sterne Agee takes the bling king to Buy from Neutral.

(See also: Stock Downgrades: Nobody Can Console Sony and New Stock Coverage: Green Is the New Black for Netflix.)
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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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