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Stock Upgrades: Hilton Will Always Have Paris


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

Although she somehow escaped the clutches of Joan Rivers' fashion police, I have it on good authority that Bjork was indeed at the Oscars on Sunday. And this time, she wore a "black swan event" dress to warn us of impending calamity by the Black Sea. Don't doubt that the Reykjavik-born singer has powers of prognostication to shame any economic sage. After all, at an Academy Awards in the early aughts, her white swan dress proved an eerily prescient coded signal of coming financial catastrophe, much of it emanating out of the singer's native Iceland. As it was, Dow Industrials (INDEXDJX:.DJI) yesterday endured their worst session in a month after Vlad the Mad flexed his military muscles. Mind you, you can't actually blame Mother Russia for any losses incurred. Quite the contrary, the planet's heaviest smokers clearly inspired cigarette stocks Lorillard (NYSE:LO) and Reynolds American (NYSE:RAI) to top the entire S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX), rising a respective 9.27% and 4.84%. Alas, Red Lobster owner Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI) fell 5.35% to post the index' poorest performance, so it is now sadly a lot less profitable for our cousins in the Kremlin to poison their enemies with radioactive sushi rolls. Elsewhere, who on Earth would want to be either the world's richest man or its sexiest woman? Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) dropped 1.38% amid dual executive exits even as Bill Gates reclaimed top spot among global earners. And Scarlett Johansson saw her SodaStream (NASDAQ:SODA) implode 1.11% on a rating reduction.
There aren't any economic reports of note released today, but earnings announcements are expected out of AutoZone (NYSE:AZO), Bank of Nova Scotia (NYSE:BNS), and Smith & Wesson (NASDAQ:SWHC).
Abercrombie & Fitch (NYSE:ANF): Shares are now Outperform from Neutral at Credit Suisse. Its price objective, previously $36, increases to $52. The clothing company's long-suffering stock is heading higher this morning after the bank hailed its improved inventory management among other favorable factors.
Banco Popolare (OTCMKTS:BPSAY): Bank of America-Merrill Lynch lifts its fellow financial name to Buy from Neutral.
Hilton Worldwide (NYSE:HLT): (Fedora hat tip to Casablanca for today's title.) Paris Hilton's already bulging bank balance should swell further today after Goldman Sachs gave her family's accommodation empire a Buy-from-Neutral upgrade. Increased clarity on capital allocation plans is seen as a catalyst by the bank, which also increases its target price to $26 from $23. The equity is currently trading up an impressive 2.93% as a result of the analyst's increased optimism.
Magna International (NYSE:MGA): More good news for the auto parts outfit, which surged 5.08% even in Monday's brutal market. Shares are now Neutral from Sell at Goldman Sachs and Neutral from Underweight at JPMorgan. The stock is, accordingly, adding on another 2.33% even as we speak.
PulteGroup (NYSE:PHM): KeyBanc Capital hoists the home-builder to Buy from Hold.
SunEdison (NYSE:SUNE): The semiconductor stock gets moved to Overweight from Equal Weight at Morgan Stanley.
WNS Holdings (NYSE:WNS): Robert W. Baird raises its recommendation on the business services firm to Outperform from Neutral.

See also:

Stock Downgrades: Cliffs Natural Resources Not Worth Hill of Beans (MVPRO article)

New Stock Coverage: Kiss Estee Lauder as if It Were the Last Time (MVPRO article)
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