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Stock Upgrades: Red Hat Caps Off the Week Nicely

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

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Funny, but on a day the firm that invented the push-up bra surged some 29.70%, stocks ended essentially flat. Racy lingerie retailer Frederick's of Hollywood (OTCMKTS:FOHL) was indeed too sexy for its shirt, jumping after covering up its private parts, but otherwise equities found precious little to get excited about after the previous session's Fed-inspired fireworks. On a day Dow Industrials (INDEXDJX:.DJI) ended up all of 0.07% and S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) shares slipped 0.06%, it was a tale of two Bills in US stock markets. Namely Gates and Murray, with Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) seriously Scrooged in dropping a Dow-worst 0.90%, even as its leading light played secret Santa. As for the third Wise Man, beleaguered Bill Ackman, his Herbalife (NYSE:HLF) short appears more ill-advised than ever after it added on another 2.03% in ending at a historic high. But even billionaires can occasionally make money; Air Products (NYSE:APD), in whom the silver fox has a 9.8% stake, finished up 3.39%. Jamie Dimon, whose holiday card is coming under increasing criticism for looking like a "Ralph Lauren (NYSE:RL) advertisement," endured the ignominy of a rating reduction for JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM). Adding insult to injury for the kid from Queens, Bronx-born Mr. Lauren's clothing company simultaneously scored a broker boost.

Last week's trading action finished on Friday the 13th. This time, what will be the last full week of '13 for stocks ends with the scary-sounding quadruple witching, so it clearly doesn't pay to be superstitious on Wall Street. (Or in France, for that matter.) In terms of events that may move US markets today, BlackBerry (NASDAQ:BBRY), CarMax (NYSE:KMX), Finish Line (NASDAQ:FINL), Walgreen (NYSE:WAG), and Zuoan Fashion (NYSE:ZA) all announce earnings.

Carnival Corporation (NYSE:CCL): Even landlocked Switzerland now likes cruise company Carnival Corporation. The stock, which rose 2.53% yesterday, is currently adding on another 5.26% after getting upgraded to Outperform from Neutral at Credit Suisse. Its amended price objective is $43.

Lexmark (NYSE:LXK): Barclays boosts the printer powerhouse to Equal Weight from Underweight.

Methanex (NASDAQ:MEOH): MEOH gets moved to Outperform from Market Perform.

Red Hat (NYSE:RHT): This indeed looks like a red-letter day for Red Hat, whose stock is currently surging some 13.37% as we speak. Raymond James juices its recommendation to Outperform from Perform after the company's third-quarter earnings beat Street estimates.

Red Robin Gourmet Burgers (NASDAQ:RRGB): Talk about the color of money. Red Robin, much like Red Hat, may also be worth much more than one red cent after getting moved to Buy from Hold at Miller Tabak.

3M Company (NYSE:MMM): Not the first upgrade this month for the firm, now Neutral from Underweight at JP Morgan. 3M Company is a key Dow component.

Zumiez (NASDAQ:ZUMZ): Bank of America-Merrill Lynch is sending the retailer higher this morning after lifting it to Buy from Neutral. Its new target price is $29.

(See also: New Stock Coverage: Nimble Storage Can Make You a Quick Buck and Stock Downgrades: First Niagara Falls Out of Bed)
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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