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Stock Upgrades: Intel Parties Like It's 1997

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

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Semiconductor stock and key blue-chip component Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) is currently turning back Time to its glory days of 1997, when then CEO Andy Grove was anointed Man of the Year. Shares are surging 5.20% even as we speak -- this after the tech titan beat Street earnings estimates and also announced an additional $20 billion of stock buybacks.
 
Sticking with the '90s theme, "You complete me." So said Jerry Maguire in a film of the same name released on December 6, 1996. That was exactly 24 hours after Alan Greenspan famously cautioned against "irrational exuberance" in equities, with the Dow (INDEXDJX:.DJI) at 6,437.10. Yesterday blue chips continued to show us the money, finishing up a fraction at 17,060.68 even as his successor reprised the warning and added that this economic recovery is far from complete. Wall Street was also unnerved by a survey showing investment sentiment in Germany nosedived to a 19-month low, even as 400,000 fanatical fans displayed no lack of confidence by indulging in some well-earned bravado by Berlin's Brandenburg GateFacebook (NASDAQ:FB) fell 1.08% as Ms. Yellen warned of stretched valuations in the social media space. Adding insult to injury, Mark Zuckerberg, born in 1984, now has to contend with fresh Big Brother allegations in Orwell's birthplace. This as Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), whose iconic 1984 ad took dead aim at International Business Machines (NYSE:IBM), is now best buddies with its erstwhile enemy. Elsewhere carbon dioxide was defamed on CNBC and carbon monoxide also endured a tough time of it as cigarette stock Lorillard (NYSE:LO) lost an S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX)-worst 10.49%. And, exactly 24 months into her tenure as Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO) CEO, Marissa Mayer said she was "not satisfied" with earnings at her increasingly unloved stock. Forgoing cotton, the modern fashion is to give a two-year anniversary gift of China. Certainly China's own Alibaba is the gift that keeps on giving for Yahoo. Indeed one wonders where on Earth the venerable Silicon Valley outfit would be without it.
 
Today in economics, the Fed releases its Beige Book detailing regional financial conditions in a dozen districts at 2:00 p.m. EDT. On the earnings front, Hump Day of a peak week for quarterly announcements is already upon us. Abbott Labs (NYSE:ABT), Bank of America (NYSE:BAC), Charles Schwab (NYSE:SCHW), eBay Inc. (NASDAQ:EBAY), and Yum Brands (NYSE:YUM) all release results.
 
Now let's analyze this morning's research recommendations, a group encompassing a pawnbroker and Italian leather icon as well as our aforementioned Intel.

ARM Holdings (NASDAQ:ARMH): The key Apple supplier is hoisted to Buy from Hold at FinnCap.
 
Beiersdorf (OTCMKTS:BDRFF): Goldman Sachs gives the German household products powerhouse a Neutral-from-Sell upgrade.
 
Cash America International (NYSE:CSH): The payday lender is now Buy from Neutral at Sterne Agee.
 
Ford Motor (NYSE:F): UBS adds the automotive outfit to its Key Call list.
 
Ingram Micro (NYSE:IM): Bank of America Merrill Lynch lifts the stock to Buy from Neutral.
 
Intel: Today's headline equity gets increased to Buy from Neutral at UBS. Its price objective, previously $30, is now $37.50.
 
JB Hunt Transport (NASDAQ:JBHT): Credit Suisse takes the stock to Outperform from Neutral.
 
Salvatore Ferragamo (OTCMKTS:SFRGY): Société Générale hoists the legendary Italian luxury firm to Hold from Sell.
 
Syngenta (NYSE:SYT): Shares are now Outperform from Neutral at Credit Suisse.
 
Western Digital (NASDAQ:WDC): Robert W. Baird raises its recommendation to Outperform from Neutral and also takes its target price to $120 from $95 amid increased Intel-inspired personal computer optimism.
 
Also see:

New Stock Coverage: Apple, With Apologies to  IBM, Parties Like It's 1984
 
Stock Downgrades: Yahoo Definitely Not Partying Like It's 1999
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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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