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Stock Upgrades: Pandora Proves MTV Was Wrong


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

On the anniversary of FDR telling us fear was the only thing we had to fear, greed came roaring back on Wall Street. Thus did Dow Industrials (INDEXDJX:.DJI) enjoy their best day of the year as Crimea proved to be but a chimera. (Am glad that the region is now on the back burner, for it was devilishly difficult to pronounce properly.) Among equities on the move, Trojan condoms owner Church & Dwight (NYSE:CHD), founded in 1846, hit the highest level in its history on a broker boost. Which will be a big relief to the 11% of Americans who believe HTML Is an STD. Elsewhere, AutoZone's (NYSE:AZO) appropriately-named CEO Mr. Rhodes said "weather patterns accelerated our growth in certain failure-related hard part categories." Can't we simply say "potholes"? The company clearly can't afford any $10 words after falling 0.49% on a day S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) shares reached records. And Hilton(NYSE:HLT) hotels ended up 0.31% on an analyst upgrade, so its billionaire heiress Paris -- who knows better than most it is all in the genes -- can continue to insult the poor by walking around Tinseltown's toniest neighborhoods in ripped designer jeans.

Today in economics, a slight slippage is seen for February's Institute for Supply Management Index at 10:00 a.m. Eastern. At 2:00 p.m., the Fed furnishes its beige book outlining regional financial conditions in a dozen districts. In earnings action, Brown-Forman (NYSE:BF.B), Canadian Solar (NASDAQ:CSIQ), and PetSmart (NASDAQ:PETM) all release results.

Circor (NYSE:CIR): KeyBanc Capital boosts the stock to Buy from Hold.

DST Systems (NYSE:DST): Shares get upgraded to Overweight from Equal Weight at Evercore. Its price objective, previously $96, is increased to $113.

Ericsson (NASDAQ:ERIC): The telecom titan is taken to Outperform from Perform at RBC Capital, which notes improving European network upgrades. The target price is also taken higher, by $3 to $16.

Lazard (NYSE:LAZ): Susquehanna moves the money manager to Positive from Neutral.

Pandora Media (NYSE:P): With its debut song on August 1, 1981, MTV declared "Video Killed the Radio Star" but the Internet version has never been healthier. Online radio outfit Pandora, having yesterday hit a historic high, is today moved to Neutral from Sell at MKM Partners. Shares have surged some 226.42% in the past 12 months.

Randgold Resources (NASDAQ:GOLD): The commodity company, an analyst darling of late, is now Buy from Neutral at Nomura.

Smith & Wesson (NASDAQ:SWHC): The firearms firm, jumping 10.17% this morning following a fourth quarter earnings beat, is increased to Outperform from Market Perform at Cowen.

Trimble Navigation (NASDAQ:TRMB): JP Morgan takes TRMB to Overweight from Neutral, also increasing its price objective to $43 from $36.

21st Century Fox (NASDAQ:FOXA): Shares are moved to Outperform from Perform with a $40 target at BMO Capital.

Valley National (NYSE:VLY): Keefe Bruyette boosts the regional financial firm to Perform from Underperform.

Also see:

Stock Downgrades: Is South Jersey Industries the Armpit of America? (MVPRO article)

New Stock Coverage: Even Robin Hood Bows Down to Arrowhead Research (MVPRO article)
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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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