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Stock Upgrades: Tiffany Running Rings Around the Competition


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

Call it the curse of Jay-Z. On December 4, which just happened to be 44th birthday of the rapper who is frighteningly fixated on the number four, the Dow (INDEXDJX:.DJI) dropped for a fourth straight session. (At least, with today's Tiffany (NYSE:TIF) upgrade, his wife can continue profitably "Putting a Ring on It.") US markets continued their recent retreat from records after robust economic reports led investors to conclude that a Fed taper is imminent. Amid the data was one startlingly strong reading on new-home sales, which showed their biggest surge since May 1980. Back then, Americans overwhelming opted to live in Funky Town, to quote the little ditty that closed that month atop the Billboard 100 album charts. However, and despite today's Wall Street Journal headline informing us that "Companies Say Goodbye to the 'Burbs,'" the boonies are where it's at. CF Industries (NYSE:CF), which fertilizes our farms, topped the entire S&P 500 Index (INDEXSP:.INX) with its 10.68% surge. Whirlpool (NYSE:WHR), whose Maytag repairman idles away the days in Iowa, scored a broker boost. Oklahoma's own Sonic Corporation (NASDAQ:SONC), which hails from where "the corn is as high as an elephant's eye," jumped 4.82% on similarly upbeat analyst action. And no one was writing a Dear John letter to John Deere (NYSE:DE) after the tractor titan saw its stock advance 3.23%. By contrast, Urban Outfitters (NASDAQ:URBN) - down 1.64% - was sent to Siberia in dropping for a fourth day. And Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) told Citigroup (NYSE:C) to get out of town.

In terms of economic events that may move US markets today, at 10:00 a.m. Eastern consensus calls for a fall in October factory orders. Regarding specific stocks, Conn's (NASDAQ:CONN), Dollar General (NYSE:DG), Finisar (NASDAQ:FNSR), Jos A Bank (NASDAQ:JOSB), Kroger (NYSE:KR), Pacific Sunwear of California (NASDAQ:PSUN), Royal Bank of Canada (NYSE:RY), Smithfield Foods (NYSE:SFD), Toronto-Dominion Bank (NYSE:TD), Ulta Salon (NASDAQ:ULTA), and Zumiez (NASDAQ:ZUMZ) are all due to release quarterly results.

Aéropostale (NYSE:ARO): Shares, slumping 7.69% as I write this article, are nonetheless hoisted to Hold from Underweight at KeyBanc.

Arkansas Best (NASDAQ:ABFS): JPMorgan moves the transport name to Neutral from Underweight. Its amended price objective is $34.

Celgene (NASDAQ:CELG): The stock is trading up ahead of this morning's opening bell after getting boosted to Buy from Neutral at UBS. Its target price, previously $163, gets taken to $200.

CF Industries (NYSE:CF): Goldman Sachs gives yesterday's stellar performer a Neutral-from-Sell upgrade.

Domtar (NYSE:UFS): The paper and pulp powerhouse is upgraded to Top Pick from Outperform at RBC Capital, which cites the prospect of a further price hike.

Hub Group (NASDAQ:HUBG): Shares are moved to Market Perform from Underperform with Wells Fargo.

Jack In The Box (NASDAQ:JACK): Wedbush juices toy-maker JACK to Outperform from Neutral.

Kohl's Corp (NYSE:KSS): Retailer Kohl's Corp is now Buy from Neutral at Bank of America-Merrill Lynch. Its price target on Kohl's Corp stock is $65.

Open Text (NASDAQ:OTEX): Shares are now Neutral from Negative at Susquehanna. Its price objective, previously $55, increases to $80.

Smith & Wesson (NASDAQ:SWHC): The gun-maker gets upgraded to Buy from Hold at Lake Street Capital.

Sprint (NYSE:S) Sprint stock is boosted to Buy from Neutral at Nomura. The price target on Sprint is now $10.50, up from a prior $6.00.

Tahoe Resources (NYSE:TAHO): Raymond James takes TAHO to Outperform from Perform.

Tiffany (NYSE:TIF): Wedding ring king Tiffany gets upgraded considerably at Goldman Sachs, all the way to Conviction Buy from a prior assessment of Neutral. Tiffany stock, now up 50.55% in the past 12 months, hit a historic peak last week. Goldman hails its ample free cash flow, among other catalysts.

Union Pacific (NYSE:UNP): Raymond James raises its recommendation on the railroad to Strong Buy from Outperform.

(See also: Stock Downgrades: Oil's Not Well at Exxon and New Stock Coverage: Oracle Is as Happy as Larry)
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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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