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Stock Upgrades: Citigroup Paints the Town Red


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

The incomparable Mark Haines is unfortunately no longer with us, but we have come some way from his bottom of four years ago. The Dow (^DJI) stands at an historic high, having gained 120% since its nadir on March 9 2009.

Time Warner (TWX) was among the week's standout stocks, with a 7.2% surge. Its Manhattan media snobs apparently don't want to move to Iowa, whose unemployment rate is 4.9% to New York's 8.4%. That's the Hawkeye State's good Fortune, since Time Inc.'s cover curse also extends to both its marquee magazine and Sports Illustrated.

Elsewhere one Sarkozy brother is being wooed by the state of Qatar, while the other woos Mary Kate Olsen. And JC Penney (JCP) plunged 15%. Maybe its $5 off a $5 purchase didn't make much cents after all.

No top-tier economic data due today but corporate earnings announcements are expected out of Casey's General Stores (CASY), Diamond Foods (DMND), Dick's Sporting Goods (DKS), and Urban Outfitters (URBN).

ArcelorMittal (MT): The steel stock is showing strength this morning after being increased to Buy from Neutral at UBS.

Aspen Insurance (AHL): Credit Suisse raises its rating to Outperform from Neutral.

Banco Bilbao Vizcaya (BBVA): Société Générale boosts the Spanish bank to Hold from Sell.

Best Buy (BBY): The stock, which surged some 18% last week amid an analyst upgrade, is today taken to Overweight from Neutral at Piper Jaffray. New management is seen improving earnings and operating margins over the long haul and the price objective, previously $16, is increased to $26. "We see distinct drivers to both domestic gross margin and sales", analysts wrote in a note.

BioDelivery Sciences (BDSI): Piper boosts the biotech to Overweight from Neutral.

Citigroup (NYSE:C): Shares, already up 18% in 2013, are advancing further before the bell after being boosted to Buy from Neutral at UBS. Their target is now $62, up from $43. Catalysts include a newly efficient management and additional capital deployment.

Cloud Peak Energy (CLD): Shares are moved to Outperform from Market Perform at BMO Capital Markets.

CONSOL Energy (CNX): BMO Capital boosts the coal company to Outperform from Market Perform.

Fiat Industrial (PINK:FNDSF): The Italian outfit gets a Buy-from-Hold hoist at Deutsche Bank, sending it higher in today's overseas trading.

H&R Block (HRB): Friday's top S&P 500 (^GSPC) stock is today taken to Equal-Weight from Underweight at Morgan Stanley.

Main Street Capital (MAIN): MAIN is moved to Outperform from Neutral at Robert W. Baird, which takes its target price up to $36 from $31 amid an attractive operating model and strong balance sheet.

Meritage Homes (MTH): ISI Group gives the stock a Strong Buy-from-Buy upgrade.

Resolute Energy (REN): Shares are raised to Buy from Hold with Wunderlich, which also increases its price objective by $3 to $13. The broker has high hopes for the company's horizontal potential in the Permian Basin.

Rovi Corporation (ROVI): Piper Jaffray juices its recommendation on the multimedia outfit to Overweight from Neutral.

Smithfield Foods (SFD) America's largest pork producer, which finished at a fresh 52-week peak on Friday after gaining $1.11 in five trading days, is lifted to Neutral from Underperform at Bank of America-Merrill Lynch.

Transdigm Group (TDG): TDG is taken to Buy from Hold at Deutsche Bank.

(See also: New Stock Coverage: Jazz Pharmaceuticals Going for a Song and Stock Downgrades: The Party's Over for Tupperware.)
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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