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Stock Upgrades: CBS Eyes Huge Gains


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

The S&P 500 Index (^GSPC) set its second fresh five-year high of the week, despite its cumulative advance over the period amounting to a mere 4/100′s of 1%. (No wonder that the percent sign was just anointed symbol of the year, for it packs a punch even in infinitesimal increments.)

The market may have traded Sideways, so to speak, but wine giant Constellation Brands (STZ) jumped 6.15% on a bullish Buy initiation. Ironic, as yesterday was the anniversary of Prohibition's introduction, but to paraphrase Dorothy Parker, the stock's surge was an excellent example of the "wrath of grapes."

In a similar vein, Southwest Airlines (LUV), famously founded on a cocktail napkin, added 1.81% to fresh a 52-week peak, and JetBlue Airways (JBLU), home of a beer-swilling ex-employee, rose 3.87. Bubble Wrap owner Sealed Air (SEE) advanced 1.70% on a ratings increase although, as any investment veteran can tell you, after the bubble invariably comes the bath. Calgon (CCC) - a 2.90% tumbler - take me away.

Today in economics, the Philadelphia Fed Index for January is expected to cool off from the previous month's pace at 10:00 a.m. Eastern. The cavalcade of quarterly earnings announcements continues, with American Express (AXP), ASML Holding (ASML), BB&T Corporation (BBT), Bank of America (BAC), BlackRock (BLK), Capital One Financial (COF), Citigroup (C), Fifth Third Bancorp (FITB), and Intel (INTC) all due to release results.

ADTRAN (ADTN): Shares are now Neutral from Sell at Citigroup.

Alon USA Partners (ALDW): Credit Suisse increases ALDW to Outperform from Perform.

CBS Corporation (NYSE:CBS): The media empire, famous for its eye logo, is increased to Outperform from Neutral with Wedbush. A sale of its international Outdoor operations in Europe and Asia amid a REIT (REAL Estate Investment Trust) conversion is viewed positively. The price target, previously $36, is now $50 and shares are surging 8.07% ahead of the open.

Donaldson Company (DCI): Bank of America-Merrill Lynch boosts the industrial outfit to Buy from Neutral.

Exelon (EXC): The nuclear power play is higher ahead of the open after being moved to Overweight from Equal-Weight at Morgan Stanley.

Juniper Networks (JNPR): JPMorgan juices its recommendation on the tech stock to Overweight from Neutral.

Mediaset (PINK:MDIUY): The company controlled by Silvio Berlusconi gets a 180 degree (Outperform from Underperform) upgrade at Credit Suisse.

Medtronic (MDT): Credit Suisse moves the medical device maker to Outperform from Neutral.

PerkinElmer (PKI): The stock gets a Buy-from-Outperform boost at Crédit Agricole.

Rio Tinto (RTP): Shares are now Buy from Neutral at Citi.

SABMiller (PINK:SBMRY): The brewing behemoth whose brands include Carling, Grolsch, and Pilsner Urquell is moved to Outperform from Neutral at Macquarie.

Textainer Group (TGH): Bank of America-Merrill takes TGH to Buy from Neutral.

(See also: Stock Downgrades: Boeing About to Crash and New Stock Coverage: Which Fertilizer Stocks Pass the Smell Test?)
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