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Stock Upgrades: Milk Honeywell for All It's Worth

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

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In the wise words of Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, "Toto, we're not in Kansas any more." (Just as well actually. Kansas City Southern (NYSE:KSU), downgraded this morning, slid 15.17% on Friday to post its poorest performance for more than half a decade.) Ominous economic developments in far-flung foreign capitals from Buenos Aires to Beijing and Istanbul hit US stock markets hard and saw the Dow (INDEXDJX:.DJI) and S&P 500 Index (INDEXSP:.INX) each endure their worst week in years. Where is the Iron Lady when you need her to bop Maggie's arch-nemesis Argentina over the head with one of those iconic handbags? Certainly Coach (NYSE:COH), which slumped 7.1%, could have used the business. Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) hit a historic high even as Egypt's "Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) revolution," much fêted in the salons of the West, looks ever more like a mirage. This as Cairo's prodigal son Mohamad El-Erian called it quits at Pimco. Moving from the banks of the Nile to "pyramid schemes" (the quotation marks, billionaire Bill Ackman contends, will soon be rendered redundant), Herbalife (NYSE:HLF) fell 14.4%. And Justin Bieber can't get a break. Align Technology (NASDAQ:ALGN), the teeth-straightening outfit which he shills for, imploded 7.9%, although not before the pop star flashed his highly impressive set of pearly whites in that suspiciously smiley mug shot. Adding insult to considerable injury for the Canadian, BlackBerry (NASDAQ:BBRY) - which wanted nothing to do with him - jumped 15.54% amid all the market mayhem.

In terms of economic events that may move US stock markets today, December 2013 new home sales are expected to contract from the previous month's pace at 10:00 a.m. Eastern. Regarding specific stocks, American Electric Power (NYSE:AEP), Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), Caterpillar (NYSE:CAT), Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL), Seagate (NASDAQ:STX), and US Steel (NYSE:X) are all due to release results.

Alamos Gold (NYSE:AGI): Saying a recent share price sell-off is overdone, RBC Capital raises its recommendation on the commodity company to Outperform from Perform.

Peabody Energy (NYSE:BTU): Bank of America-Merrill Lynch lifts the coal company to Neutral from Underperform.

Potash (NYSE:POT): Shares are moved to Outperform from Market Perform at Raymond James.

Edison International (NYSE:EIX): Jefferies juices the electric utility to Hold from Underperform.

E*TRADE (NASDAQ:ETFC): A second upgrade in as many trading session for the surging discount broker, today taken to Outperform from Perform at JMP Securities.

Honeywell International (NYSE:HON): It may indeed be the land of milk and honey for Honeywell today, with the stock getting a Buy-from-Neutral boost at Langenberg. Its price objective, previously $90, increases to $100. (Note that Honeywell competitor Caterpillar is surging some 6.15% as we speak after its earnings of $1.54 per share handily beat Street estimates earlier this morning.)

Merck (NYSE:MRK): Morgan Stanley moves Merck, a key Dow stock, to Overweight from Equal Weight.

Meritage Homes (NYSE:MTH): MTH is hoisted to Overweight from Equal Weight by Barclays.

MGIC Investment (NYSE:MTG): Shares are moved to Outperform from Market Perform at JMP Securities.

Mohawk Industries (NYSE:MHK): The stock is now Overweight from Neutral at JPMorgan.

RetailMeNot (NASDAQ:SALE): Goldman Sachs raises RetailMeNot stock to Buy from Neutral.

Xoom Corp (NASDAQ:XOOM): Shares get a substantial (Strong Buy-from-Perform) boost at Raymond James.

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

See also:

Stock Downgrades: What's the Mata With Manchester United?

New Stock Coverage: AMC Entertainment Starts With Hollywood Ending
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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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