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Stock Upgrades: Corning Shatters Glass Ceiling

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

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From Barron's to The Economist, believers in the age-old cover curse have plenty of ominous evidence that a reversal in equities is nigh. For now though, let's just enjoy S&P 500 (^GSPC) shares having risen for three straight weeks, shattering all sorts of records in the process.

Such is the current optimism in stocks, it seems even bad news is good news. An embarrassing gourmet grocery error? No worries; Whole Foods (WFM) still jumped 10% to the highest level in its history. A sheer pants problem? Wall Street evidently likes greater transparency, for Lululemon (LULU) also rose to an all-time best, as did Williams-Sonoma (WSM), for whom even a wobbly wooden hammock is preferable to stuffing money in mattresses.

Today in economics, analysts expect March business inventories to tick up from February's pace at 10:00 a.m. Eastern. On the earnings front, AngloGold Ashanti (AU), Cellcom Israel (CEL), China Yuchai International (CYD), Post Holdings (POST), Supernus Pharmaceutical (SUPN), Stratasys (SSYS), and Take Two Interactive (TTWO) are all due to release results.

American International (AIG): AIG gets an Overweight-from-Equal Weight boost by Barclays.

Apollo Global Management (APO): The money manager gets moved to Outperform from Market Perform at Keefe Bruyette.

Celanese (CE): Citigroup upgrades the chemicals company to Neutral from Buy.

Chico's FAS (CHS): The clothing company is moved to Equal-Weight from Underweight at Morgan Stanley.

Cisco Systems (CSCO): The company, a key Dow (^DJI) component, is increased to Market Perform from Outperform at FBR Capital, which says its SDN (Software-Defined Networking) is now gaining more traction it expected. Its price objective is also taken up, by $2 to $19.

Corning (NYSE:GLW): The firm, which makes glass for flat-panel televisions, is upgraded by both Barclays (Overweight from Equal Weight) and Morgan Stanley (Equal Weight from Underweight). Shares are trading higher in today's pre-market trading as a result, bucking an overall weak market.

Digital Realty Trust (DLR): MLV & Company raises the real estate outfit to Buy from Hold, hoisting their target price by $10 to $77. Recent data implies that supply absorption is ahead of schedule.

Johnson Controls (JCI): Lazard juices JCI to Buy from Neutral.

Michael Kors (KORS): The fashion firm is added to Morgan Stanley's list of Best Ideas.

Nokia (NOK): Shares, which surged 11.3% last week, are up a further 3% plus this morning on an unusual 180 degree (Buy from Sell) upgrade at Danske Bank.

Orbotech (ORBK): The Israeli electronics outfit gets increased to Overweight from Equal Weight by Barclays.

Owens Corning (OC): OC gets increased to Buy from Hold at KeyBanc Capital.

Franklin Resources (BEN): Shares get Buy-from-Neutral boosts by both Citi and UBS.

Sequenom (SQNM): Credit Suisse moves the stock to Neutral from Underperform.

T-Mobile US (TMUS): TMUS is taken to Buy from Neutral at UBS.

Vestas Wind Systems (PINK:VWDRY): The world's largest maker of wind turbines is surging overseas today on a Neutral-from-Underperform upgrade at Credit Suisse, which says the company stands to gain from cutting costs.

Warner Chilcott (WCRX): Morgan Stanley moves the stock, which surged 19.99% on Friday amid takeover talk, to Equal-Weight from Underweight.

Washington REIT (WRE): The real estate investment trust gets raised to Outperform from Neutral by Robert W. Baird, whose target goes to $33 from $30 amid optimism over the sale of its Medical Office portfolio.

W.W. Grainger (GWW): GWW gets upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at Raymond James.

(See also: New Stock Coverage: Fairway Will Take You Far and Stock Downgrades: Ctrip Told to Take a Hike.)
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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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