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Stock Upgrades: Monster Beverage, Barbarian at the Gate of Your Portfolio, Begs to Be Let In


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

This is the single busiest day of 2013 for the post office, but last week, Wall Street's recently reliable check was lost in the mail. (Electronic versions fared little better, with Marissa Mayer having to say the hardest word after Yahoo's (NASDAQ:YHOO) digital missives went walkabout once again.) Investors went postal after the S&P 500 Index (INDEXSP:.INX) dropped for a second straight week and, if you were looking for messenger pigeons to deliver the goods in Ireland, you were similarly all out of luck. Up north, an article with the dateline "Waterloo, Ontario" declared that Canada's postal service would cease home delivery. Waterloo's own BlackBerry (NASDAQ:BBRY), which tumbled to a 10-year trough on Tuesday, feels the pain. Thankfully, reports that Ray Price has died are apparently false – it is the fallen tech titan's recent pronouncement that it is "very much alive" that now looks positively premature. The Michelin (OTCMKTS:MGDDF) man recoiled after recalling 1.2 million tires, and Pep Boys-Manny, Moe & Jack (NYSE: PBY) plunged 10% on an earnings miss. No, if you want to get anywhere, it's best to ask a woman. At General Motors (NYSE:GM) - to quote Creedence Clearwater Revival - "Big wheels keep on turnin', Proud Mary keep on burnin'." As for Tesla Motors (NASDAQ:TSLA), thrice afire of late, it surged 7.49%.

It's a relatively quiet day for quarterly earnings announcements that may move US stock markets, but FuelCell Energy (NASDAQ:FCEL) and L&L Energy (NASDAQ:LLEN) each release results.

Allison Transmission (NYSE:ALSN): Bank of America-Merrill Lynch lifts the shares to Buy from Neutral.

BlackBerry (NASDAQ:BBRY): Stock in beleaguered BlackBerry, which has fallen 56.13% in the past 12 months, could use a boost, and today it is moved to Market Perform from Underperform by Sanford Bernstein.

Charles Schwab (NYSE:SCHW): A second upgrade in two trading sessions for the discount broker, today taken to Equal Weight from Underweight at Evercore.

Citigroup (NYSE:C): Evercore increases its investment assessment to Overweight from Equal Weight. Their price objective is $58.

Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM): The Dow (INDEXDJX:.DJI) member is now Buy from Neutral at Goldman Sachs.

Fifth Street Finance (NASDAQ:FSC): Barclays boosts the stock to Overweight from Equal Weight.

Fifth Third Bancorp (NASDAQ:FITB): High fives also for this financial firm, taken to Overweight from Equal Weight at Evercore.

FMC Technologies (NYSE:FTI): Goldman gives the stock a boost to Neutral from Sell.

Hotel Stocks: Hyatt Hotels (NYSE:H) and Starwood Hotels (NYSE:HOT) are both now Buy from Neutral at Nomura.

Lumber Liquidators (LL): LL is lifted to Buy from Neutral at Goldman.

Monster Beverage (NYSE:MNST): (Hat tip to a famous ode to Wall Street for today's title.) Monster Beverage stock is raised to Top Pick from Outperform at RBC Capital Markets. Its price objective is $77. The broker believes that Monster can leverage its brand name into other beverage areas.

Moody's (NYSE:MCO): The rating agency gets moved to Overweight from Equal Weight by Barclays.

Old Dominion (NASDAQ:ODFL): Deutsche Bank hoists the stock to Buy from Hold. Its amended target price is $59.

St. Jude Medical (NYSE:STJ): Shares are upgraded to Outperform from Perform at BMO Capital Markets.

Taser International (NASDAQ:TASR): Good things come to those who wait. Stun gun maker Taser International, taken to Neutral from Overweight at JP Morgan (NYSE:JPM) in August, sees its stock raised to Overweight from Neutral by the same firm three months on.

Telefônica Brasil (NYSE:VIV): Shares are now Buy from Neutral at BTIG Research, whose target is $24.

Tiffany (NYSE:TIF): Surging Tiffany gets taken to Hold from Sell at Canaccord Genuity, whose objective also increases by $18 to $83 from $65. Rebounding gross margins are among the catalysts cited.

Urban Outfitters (NASDAQ:URBN): Goldman gives the stock a Buy-from-Neutral upgrade.

Verizon (NYSE:VZ): Macquarie moves the Dow member to Outperform from Neutral.

YUM! Brands (NYSE:YUM): Sanford Bernstein boosts the owner of KFC, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell to Outperform from Market Perform.

(See also: New Stock Coverage: Manpower Can Lift Mr. Market and Stock Downgrades: Time to Play Monday Morning Quarterback on Twitter)
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