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Stock Upgrades: Facebook Inc Enjoys Its 15 Seconds of Fame

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

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From FedEx (FDX), which fell 4.80% after announcing earnings, to Fed Exit, yesterday left investors feeling fed up. Dow Industrials (^DJI) endured their worst day of the year in experiencing its eight straight triple-digit move. To quote a '70s TV show, Eight Is Enough (although oddly, 8X8 (EGHT) actually ended up amid the destruction).

The last time the index showed such sustained swings was in 2008 and clearly, when the going gets tough, Wall Street plays video games. GameStop (GME) surged 6.25% to top all S&P 500 (^GSPC) issues as it hit a high not seen since that fateful September. Elsewhere American Eagle (AEO), whose Times Square billboard gives customers a figurative 15 minutes of fame, tumbled 2.40% on a ratings reduction. Based on its upgrade today, Facebook (FB) may fare better with its 15 second variety.

No top-tier economic data due today, although quadruple witching sessions rarely lack drama. In corporate earnings action, CarMax (KMX), Carnival Corporation (CCL), and Darden Restaurants (DRI) are all due to release results.

Bayer AG (BAYRY): The Aspirin maker gets a Buy-from-Neutral boost at Goldman Sachs.

Brown-Forman Corporation (BF.A): If you prefer a "hair of the dog" hangover cure to Aspirin, Morgan Stanley moves the maker of Jack Daniel's to Equal-Weight from Underweight.

BT Group plc (BT): Citigroup takes the British telecom name to Buy from Neutral.

Cardinal Health Inc. (CAH): CAH gets an Outperform-from-Market Perform hoist by William Blair.

Danone SA (DANOY): JPMorgan moves the French food giant to Overweight from Neutral, sending it up 2.67% in Paris this morning.

Facebook Inc (FB): The social networking name, fresh from unveiling its 15-second video service on Instagram, is now Buy from Neutral at UBS. The price objective also increases, to $30 from $28 amid heightened optimism about advertising revenue and monetization efforts. Shares are up about 2.59% in today's pre-market activity as a result.

Forest Laboratories, Inc. (FRX): Goldman Sachs lifts the equity to Buy from Neutral.

Kennametal Inc. (KMT): Shares are raised to Outperform from Market Perform by Barrington Research.

Kimberly-Clark Corp. (KMB): BMO Capital boosts the Kleenex maker to Market Perform from Underperform.

Methode Electronics Inc. (MEI): MEI gets moved to Outperform from Neutral by Robert W. Baird after its earnings beat Street estimates. The broker sees future revenue growth and rising margins.

NetGear, Inc. (NTGR): The tech name is now Outperform from Neutral with Wedbush.

Steelcase Inc. (SCS): Longbow lifts the stock to Buy from Neutral.

The Southern Company (SO): Citigroup juices the electric utility to Buy from Neutral.

Total System Services, Inc. (TSS): TSS is taken to Outperform from Market Perform with Wells Fargo.

Vodafone Group Plc (VOD): Shares are trading higher in London today after Citi added the British telecom firm to its European Focus List.

(See also: New Stock Coverage: Darling International Inc. Feels the Love and Stock Downgrades: What Ails Guinness Maker Diageo plc?)
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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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