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Stock Upgrades: Intel Proves Only the Paranoid Survive


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

The Fed's Richard Fisher spent Tuesday talking about "beer goggles," but most investors sure didn't see it that way. Not when Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), home of the X-ray specs "Glasshole," jumped 2.35% to hit a historic high and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:REGN), boosted by its top-selling eye drug Eylea, ended up 11.78% in topping the entire S&P 500 Index (INDEXSP:.INX). No, this was a day to reach for the rose-tinted glasses, which Wall Street is always only too happy to do. The Dow (INDEXDJX:.DJI) broke out of a four-session skid as US stock markets enjoyed their best session of this still-embryonic year. Twenty-twenty vision was important on a day the most famous author in finance turned a fresh page. This, as Capitol Hill lawmakers, clearly well-versed in speed-reading, rolled out a 1,500-page spending bill that they had all of one and a half days to skim. For quick bucks, far better to stick with Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), which gained 3.27% on a broker boost. Similarly upbeat analyst action also assisted the aforementioned Google, which just bought a thermostat maker for $3.2 billion. (Never mind that we all know they are just for show.) And, a century to the day after Ford Motor's (NYSE:F) Model T got off the ground, the Model S of Tesla Motors (NASDAQ:TSLA) proved a worthy heir after that stock surged 15.74%.

In terms of economic events that may move US stock markets today, at 2:00 p.m. Eastern the Fed releases its Beige Book detailing regional financial conditions in a dozen districts. Regarding specific stocks, expect earnings announcements out of Bank of America (NYSE:BAC), CSX Corporation (NYSE:CSX), Fastenal (NASDAQ:FAST), and Kinder Morgan Inc. (NYSE:KMI) as the pace of quarterly reporting season picks up.

Anglo American (OTCMKTS:AAUKF): The commodity company is trading up nicely overseas today on the back of a Buy-from-Neutral boost at UBS.

Comcast Corporation (NASDAQ:CMCSA): Morgan Stanley moves Comcast Corporation stock to Overweight from Equal Weight amid the potential for sector consolidation, among other favorable factors.

Dick's Sporting Goods (NYSE:DKS): Dick's Sporting Goods stock is now Outperform from Neutral at Credit Suisse.

E.ON (OTCMKTS:EONGY): HSBC Securities hoists the German electricity giant to Neutral from Underweight.

Hercules Technology (NYSE:HTGC): HTGC gets hoisted to Buy from Hold with an $18 price objective at Wunderlich, which cites its impressive prospects in the private equity and venture capital arena.

Intel (NASDAQ:INTC): Intel's ex-CEO Andy Grove once wrote a book called Only The Paranoid Survive, and that would appear to be a profitable strategy for the tech titan. Even amid fears over the death of the personal-computer industry, yesterday its stock rode a broker boost to gain a Dow-best 3.96%. Today, shares are advancing again after getting taken to Outperform from Perform by BMO Capital. Its target price, previously $21, increases by $10.

Lazard (NYSE:LAZ): Raymond James lifts LAZ to Strong Buy from an already upbeat Outperform. The objective also increases, to $54 from $47.

Robert Half International (NYSE:RHI): The staffing stock is now Buy from Neutral at SunTrust.

Sovran Self Storage (NYSE:SSS): Cantor Fitzgerald raises its rating to Hold from Sell.

Synnex (NYSE:SNX): The business services stock, which surged 4.19% yesterday, is now Buy from Neutral at Citigroup.

Telefônica Brasil (NYSE:VIV): Shares are taken to Overweight from Equal Weight with HSBC Securities.

Western Digital (NASDAQ:WDC): The data storage devices outfit gets upgraded to Outperform from Sector Perform at Pacific Crest.

Xilinx (NASDAQ:XLNX): Barclays increases the tech name to Overweight from Equal Weight. Its target is now $54, up from $44.

See also:

New Stock Coverage: Say "G'Day" To Morgan Stanley

Stock Downgrades: ExOne Is Too Blue
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