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Stock Upgrades: Ain't No Mountain High Enough for Vail Resorts


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

Stocks scaled fresh peaks, with the Dow (INDEXDJX:.DJI) reaching 16,000 feet for the first time, before ending back below that exalted level after cautious comments from Carl Icahn at the appropriately-named Reuters Global Investment Outlook Summit. USA Today said investors ultimately got "acrophobic", using a $10 word for vertigo that Mr. Market can certainly afford at the moment. (Continuing to climb every mountain, Vail Resorts (NYSE:MTN) scores an analyst upgrade this morning. And, to Julie Andrews' eternal quandary in Alpine hills alive with The Sound of Music - "How do you solve a problem like Maria?" - Rodger Ailes appears to have an emphatic answer.) The Dow, which started the week 39 points shy of 16k, ended Monday with its 39th record of the year, so climbing The 39 Steps proved no problem. That movie takes place in Scotland, whose Aberdeen Asset Management (OTCMKTS:ABDNF) jumped 15.11%. A speculative stock? Hardly; it is in fact literally safe for widows and orphans. Elsewhere investors went, well, Gaga for America's largest meat processor, with Tyson Foods (NYSE:TSN) advancing 2.26% on strong earnings. And ex-Treasury Secretary Tim Geither joined Warburg Pincus. Sir Sigmund Warburg famously put great stock in graphology, so we know that tiny Tim's successor could never work there.

There isn't any top-tier economic data due this morning. US markets, and specific stocks, may move on quarterly earnings announcements, however. Today's results are expected to include Best Buy (NYSE:BBY), Campbell Soup (NYSE:CPB), Dick's Sporting Goods (NYSE:DKS), Home Depot (NYSE:HD), La-Z-Boy (NYSE:LZB), Medtronic (NYSE:MDT), TJX Cos (NYSE:TJX), Trina Solar (NYSE:TSL), and Valspar (NYSE:VAL).

Great Plains Energy (NYSE:GXP): Bank of America-Merrill Lynch lifts its opinion by an unusual 180 degrees, to Buy from Underperform.

Hallador Energy (NASDAQ:HNRG): Shares are hoisted to Outperform from Perform at Cowen. Catalysts include solid margins.

Mead Johnson Nutrition (NYSE:MJN): Oppenheimer moves MJN to Outperform from Perform.

Midway Gold (NYSEMKT:MDW): Midway Gold is increased to Speculative Buy from Hold at Canaccord Genuity. "Speculative" is indeed the operative word, as Midway Gold is a microcap stock.

Qiagen (NASDAQ:QGEN): Qiagen, involved in DNA analysis, is now Neutral from Sell at Citigroup. Qiagen is, however, currently trading lower in today's pre-market activity.

Rockville Financial (NASDAQ:RCKB): RCKB is raised to Outperform from Perform at Keefe Bruyette.

Vail Resorts (NYSE:MTN): Vail Resorts, a Colorado-based operator of ski properties, is now Outperform from Neutral at Credit Suisse. With ski season now essentially upon us, stock in Vail Resorts reached a fresh 52-week peak last week.

(See also: Stock Downgrades: Even Kate Upton Can't Save Whirlpool and New Stock Coverage: Pucker Up to Estee Lauder)
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