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Stock Upgrades: Bubble Wrap Owner Sealed Air Set for Nice Pop

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

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Experts who assured us as recently as October that Research In Motion (RIMM) could never catch up with Apple Inc. (AAPL) might like to reassess after yesterday's photo finish of failure. You see, the former was Nasdaq's (^IXIC) 66th worst stock, slumping 3.14%, putting it well within striking distance of the latter's 65th-worst 3.15% plunge. BlackBerries and Apples were both off the menu as investors shunned fruit altogether, with Chiquita (CQB) bananas dropping 3.39% and Bank of New York Mellon (BK) tumbling 2.37% this morning.

As for Lululemon (LULU), it lost 3.91% on a ratings reduction. The company is so-named due to the founder's bizarre belief that the Japanese have trouble with the letter "L" and "It's funny to watch them try and say it." Yesterday Tokyo literally had the last laugh when its Nikkei Index hit a 32-month intraday high even as the Canadian yoga company cratered.

A famous soccer star at Manchester United (MANU), now in his 40th year, credits yoga with prolonging his career. He can certainly afford to retire after the sports team surged 5.23% in its best day ever. (Some of us who support rival clubs smell a rat at that but International Flavors & Fragrances (IFF) also hit the highest level in its history on Tuesday, so who are we to say?) Today in economics, the Federal Reserve releases its beige book of regional economic conditions at 2:00 p.m. Eastern.

On the corporate front, Hump Day of a peak earnings week is here, with financial firms heavily to the fore. Charles Schwab (SCHW), Comerica (CMA), Goldman Sachs (GS), JPMorgan Chase (JPM), M&T Bank (MTB), Northern Trust (NTRS), and US Bancorp (USB) are all due to release results, along with eBay Inc. (EBAY).

American Campus Communities (ACC): ACC is increased to Overweight from Neutral at JPMorgan, which notes an impressive development pipeline and positive core growth.

Consolidated Edison (ED): Jefferies juices the electric utility to Buy from Hold.

eBay Inc. (EBAY): The online auction outfit is upgraded to Buy from Hold at Edward Jones.

European Financials: Credit Suisse (CS) gets moved to Outperform from Neutral at Macquarie, which boosts Deutsche Bank (DB) to Neutral from Underperform.

Extra Space Storage (EXR): Shares are upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform with Wells Fargo, which is optimistic it can continue to outperform the overall Real Estate Investment Trust industry in 2013.

Host Hotels (HST): Wells hoists HST to Outperform from Market Perform.

Pharmaceuticals: Fresenius Medical (FMS) is added to the European Key Call list at UBS, which boosts InterMune (ITMN) to Buy from Neutral.

PLX Technology (PLXT): The small cap semiconductor company is now Buy from Neutral at Roth Capital.

Royal KPN (PINK:KKPNY): Shares are boosted to Buy from Hold at Deutsche Bank.

Sealed Air (NYSE:SEE): The Bubble Wrap maker is moved to Buy from Neutral at Citigroup, which cites expectations for operational improvement in 2013. The price objective is also increased, to $22 from $18.

Whiting Petroleum (WLL): Sterne Agee lifts the oil outfit to Buy from Neutral.

(See also: Stock Downgrades: Apple Unable to Keep the Doctor Away and New Stock Coverage: Winemaker Constellation Brands Reaches for the Stars.)
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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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