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Stock Upgrades: There's Nothing Two-Faced About Janus Capital Group This Month

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

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Martin Scorsese's ode to Wall Street excess utters the "F-word" 506 times, with the epithet in question being the "Fed." That represents one for each member of the S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX), yet investors in that index had no cause to curse yesterday, for it was actually the only US benchmark to end up on what was another desultory trading session. (The Wolf must, however, be turning the air blue over the success enjoyed by sheep's clothing after Ugg boots maker Deckers Outdoor (NASDAQ:DECK), up another 2.57%, hit a fresh peak to take its 12-month advance to 143.94%.) Stocks ended mostly lower despite Santa sticking around in the form of Challenger, Gray & Christmas announcing a 32% plunge in planned layoffs. (This proved to be an awfully inaccurate forecaster of today's punk payroll report, to be sure.) That was Challenger's best showing since June 2000, the month that Eminem's mother took her son to court for the defamatory line, "My mother smokes more dope than I do." Talk about life imitating art. Today pot stocks are all the rage, and Scotts Miracle-Gro (NYSE:SMG) - an unlikely way to play the marijuana market - just gained 0.51% to a historic high. Alas, Dell's (NASDAQ:DELL) stoner dude Steven - who, like Marshall Mathers was big at the turn of the millennium -- can only watch with horror as his erstwhile employer goes to pot. Hash, uh, tags endured an equally miserable day, with an unloved Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) tumbling 3.78% in falling for a fourth straight session.

In this morning's economic action, November 2013 wholesale inventories are expected to contract from the prior month's pace when they are announced at 10:00 a.m. Eastern. On the earnings front, Indian outsourcing and information technology outfit Infosys (NYSE:INFY) beat Street estimates when it released its results earlier today.

Abercrombie & Fitch (NYSE:ANF): Shares, surging 13.67% before the bell, are boosted to Buy from Neutral at Janney, which takes its target to $49 from $34 amid improving sales comparisons allied to aggressive cost cutting.

Baidu (NASDAQ:BIDU): Maxim boosts BIDU to Buy from Hold.

BlackBerry (NASDAQ:BBRY): BlackBerry Stock gets raised to Sector Perform from Underperform at RBC Capital.

Bristol-Myers Squibb (NYSE:BMY): Shares are increased to Overweight from Equal Weight at Barclays.

Glencore Xstrata: (OTCMKTS:GLNCY): Barclays boosts the stock to Overweight from Equal Weight, sending it up in London today. Wayward Tony Hayward jumped ship from BP Plc (NYSE:BP) to Glencore Xstrata after the gulf oil spill, in order to "get his life back." That may have been a smart move, for BP Plc was simultaneously downgraded this morning.

Incyte (NASDAQ:INCY): Shares get upgraded to Overweight from Equal Weight by Barclays.

Janus Capital Group (NYSE:JNS): In this, the month that honors the Roman god who looks both to the future and the past, Goldman Sachs gives Janus Capital Group a Neutral-from-Sell upgrade.

Legg Mason (NYSE:LM): LM is lifted to Neutral from Negative at Susquehanna. Its price objective, previously $25, gets taken to $38.

Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT): Citing the company's competitive advantage in cloud services, Barclays boosts stock in Dow member Microsoft, sending it higher this morning.

Retailers: Macy's (NYSE:M), which surged yesterday, and Target (NYSE:TGT) both get Buy-from-Neutral boosts at Goldman. (Stop Press: Talk about unfortunate timing. At 8:00 a.m. Eastern today, Target just cut its outlook after announcing its data breach now impacts up to 70 million people.)

See also:

New Stock Coverage: Cloud Peak Energy Reigns Supreme

Stock Downgrades: Polar Vortex? Las Vegas Sands Visited by the Curse of 'The Cooler'
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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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