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Stock Upgrades: Hewlett-Packard Parties Like It's 1939


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

High winds could yet put the kibosh on Bugs Bunny's stroll down Central Park West this year, but who needs carrots when there's carats? What's up, doc? US stock markets, yet again dude, with diamond titan Tiffany & Co. (NYSE:TIF) advancing 8.68% to top the entire S&P 500 Index (INDEXSP:.INX). For its part, the Dow (INDEXDJX:.DJI) reached its fourth straight record and Nasdaq (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) finished above 4000 for the first time since 2000. That year the presidency was won by a man who said, "In Texas, we don't do Nuance (NASDAQ:NUAN)." Diss Dubya all you want but, on a day its stock imploded 18.07%, who are we to argue? Also missing out on the green ink was bookseller Barnes & Noble (NYSE:BKS), which fell 5.96% after blaming tough comparisons with Fifty Shades of Grey for its inability to consistently be in the black. Sorry to disappoint fans of erotica, but there was no "afternoon delight" for the stock market, with gains trimmed considerably late on. No, yesterday profits were booked early, as that blingy Breakfast at Tiffany's was joined by Tuesday Morning (NASDAQ:TUES), which jumped 2.11% on a broker boost. Elsewhere, Francis and Francesca's (NASDAQ:FRAN) each had reason to curse capitalism, with the former assailing unfettered greed and a rating reduction causing the latter to lose 4.79%.

Other than Frontline (NYSE:FRO), which reported results three hours ago, it is slim pickings for earnings announcements today. In terms of economic events that may move US stock markets this morning, at 9:55 a.m. Eastern the University of Michigan's final figure for November consumer confidence is expected to post an improvement from the preliminary pace announced earlier in the month. At 10:00 a.m., analysts expect October leading indicators to slip from September's rate. US markets will be closed tomorrow in observance of Thanksgiving.

HeidelbergCement (OTCMKTS:HLBZF): Shares in the German company are climbing in Europe today on the back of a Buy-from-Hold hoist at Berenberg.

Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ): Venerable Hewlett-Packard, a key Dow component and Silicon Valley icon founded in 1939, suddenly has a new lease on life. Evercore increases its investment assessment on Hewlett-Packard to Equal Weight from Underweight. Its stock is currently up about 6.22% in today's pre-market trading after the personal-computer maker beat Street estimates for both profit and revenue.

Isis Pharmceuticals (NASDAQ:ISIS): Piper Jaffray juices Isis Pharmceuticals to Neutral from Underweight. Yesterday, Isis Pharmceuticals saw its stock surge 4.35%.

LATAM Airlines (NYSE:LFL): LFL gets lifted to Buy from Neutral at UBS.

Pzena Investment Management (NYSE:PZN): JPMorgan moves the money manager to Overweight from Neutral. Its price objective, previously $9, increases to $11.

UBS AG (NYSE:UBS): UBS, officially known as Union Bank of Switzerland, is raised to Outperform from Sector Perform at RBC Capital. Its target price on UBS is $20. Catalysts include ongoing cost cuts, and shares are up as we speak this morning.

Zurich Insurance (OTCMKTS:ZURVY): Société Générale gives its fellow European financial firm a Buy-from-Hold boost.

(See also: Stock Downgrades: Tilly's Is a Total Turkey, and New Stock Coverage: Buy Cedar Fair Before Eating Fowl)

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