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Stock Upgrades: Shock Jock Howard Stern Still Making 'Friends' for Sirius XM

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

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The Professional Bull Riders organization today begins its 2014 tour at Madison Square Garden (NASDAQ:MSG), with the event being billed as a "buck off". That, give or take the first letter, was exactly what the muscular beast told investors to do in no uncertain terms yesterday. Perhaps the overworked animal simply needs to retire after its incomparable, and exhausting, efforts of 2013. After all, and if only in legal terms, Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) recently put Merrill Lynch and its bovine icon out to pasture, and yesterday it rode a broker boost to surge some 3.40% in ending at a fresh multi-year peak. Elsewhere, however, with a blizzard blanketing the New York Stock Exchange, the "January Barometer" was a little off as mercury and markets each plunged precipitously. The Dow (INDEXDJX:.DJI) and S&P 500 Index (INDEXSP:.INX) each endured their worst day in weeks as the ceremonial new year's baby had investors pining for the experience of Old Father Time. Mind you, it was an equally awful day for market Methuselahs, with 83-year old Warren Buffett facing an unwanted first for his Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK.A). This as Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), currently being badgered by 77-year-old Carl Ichan and having picked 78-year-old Norman Foster to build its spaceship, is already fed up with all this "auld acquaintance" so early in the new year. Yesterday its stock slid 1.41% on a rating reduction. Chemical company DuPont (NYSE:DD) dropped 1.94% to lead Dow laggards, presumably because Wal-Mart Stores(NYSE:WMT) stole all its Teflon. The retailer rose 0.28% to best all blue chips despite enduring a PR nightmare. Swapping donkey for fox meat? No worries. Selling furniture that accidentally amputates your fingers? It's all good. Another stock bucking a bad day was Canada's BlackBerry (NASDAQ:BBRY), which ended 2.82% higher to briefly bring back memories of its long-lost "CrackBerry" heyday. Elsewhere in Ontario, a man who knows from crack filed for reelection.

There isn't any top-tier economic data that may move US markets today but Fed head Ben Bernanke, set to give a speech in Philadelphia at 2:30 p.m. Eastern, is among a plethora of central bank speakers. Regarding specific stocks, Lindsay Corporation (NYSE:LNN) missed earnings expectations when it released fiscal first-quarter results earlier this morning.

Armstrong World Industries (NYSE:AWI): Bank of America-Merrill Lynch lifts the stock to Buy from Neutral.

Finisar (NASDAQ:FNSR): Shares are raised to Strong Buy from Outperform at Raymond James.

Infosys (NYSE:INFY): If today's Northeast snowstorm has you shivering, there may be an Indian summer in store at Infosys. The outsourcing and information technology firm from the subcontinent sees its stock hoisted to Overweight from Neutral at HSBC Securities.

Martin Midstream (NASDAQ:MMLP): Shares are moved to Buy from Neutral at Bank of America-Merrill.

Maxim Integrated (NASDAQ:MXIM): BMO Capital Markets boosts the tech stock to Outperform from Perform.

MetLife (NYSE:MET): Investing in MetLife, Snoopy's favorite stock, may indeed pay today after Janney raised its recommendation on the insurance outfit to Buy from Neutral.

Sirius XM Holdings (NASDAQ:SIRI): Sirius XM Holdings, whose Howard Stern is friends with Friends actress Jennifer Aniston, sees its stock increased to Overweight from Equal Weight at Evercore. The company, which changed its name from Sirius XM Radio late last year, is believed by the broker to offer investors good growth at an attractive valuation. Shares are up as a result of the analyst's upbeat action this morning.

Tesoro Logistics (NYSE:TLLP): The limited partnership is now Buy from Neutral at Bank of America-Merrill Lynch.

Westar Energy (NYSE:WR): Citigroup boosts the stock to Buy from Neutral.

(See also: Stock Downgrades: General Electric All Out of Juice and New Stock Coverage: Go Long on China Distance Education)
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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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