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Stock Upgrades: Fast Money Makes a Run on JPMorgan Chase


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

The S&P 500 Index (^GSPC), currently making Hamlet look decisive, has now alternated between gains and losses for 12 straight sessions. The last time that happened was in 1981, when, in a delicious irony, a song called Making Your Mind Up won the Eurovision Song Contest.

A momentous year, 1981. On January 1, Athens joined its continental cousins in the forerunner of today's EU. Contemporary news releases regaled us with talk that "Greece will gradually integrate its economy with those of the more well-to-do members." (How's that one working out?)

On August 12, International Business Machines (IBM) introduced its revolutionary personal computer but, based on its 0.63% slide yesterday to lead all Dow (^DJI) laggards, the company hasn't aged well. Microsoft (MSFT) incorporated in 1981 but it is now increasingly viewed as an unloved relic whose very existence is now being questioned in some quarters.

Elsewhere, eerily anticipating this morning's disappointing jobs data, Challenger, Gray & Christmas noted that companies including Best Buy (BBY) have "been forced to shed workers in recent months." What was Scrooge for its workers is Santa for shareholders, however, with that stock surging 16.07% to top the entire S&P 500.

This afternoon in economics, analysts expect February consumer credit to contract from the previous month's pace at 3:00 p.m. Eastern. There are no major earnings announcements to end the week, but Monday ushers in the unofficial start of quarterly reporting season when Alcoa (AA) releases results.

Anglo American (PINK:AAUKY): Société Générale hoists the commodity company, which owns an 85% stake in South African diamond giant De Beers, to Hold from Sell.

Bill Barrett Corporation (BBG): The oil and gas exploration outfit gets upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Goldman Sachs, sending it up nicely in today's pre-market trading.

Celgene (CELG): The biotech gets a Buy-from-Hold boost at Deutsche Bank.

Facebook (FB): The stock - which also scored a separate bullish Buy initiation this morning - is hiked to Buy from Hold at Argus.

HSBC Holdings (HBC): Shares get upgraded to Buy from Hold at Investec.

JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM): Evercore increases its investment opinion on the big bank, a key Dow (^DJI) component, to Overweight from Equal Weight. The company's core capital markets franchise is seen as a cash cow, and its price objective increases by $7 to $55.

Mobile TeleSystems (MBT): The Russian telecom name is now Overweight from Neutral at JPMorgan.

Munich Reinsurance (PINK:MURGY): Staying in Europe, HSBC Securities raises the German financial giant by an unusual 180 degrees (Overweight from Underweight).

PDC Energy (PDCE): Shares are raised to Buy from Neutral at SunTrust Robinson Humphrey.

Teradata (TDC): The storage stock, whose 7.45% Thursday slump made the poorest performing S&P 500 issue, is this morning moved to Buy from Hold at Stifel.

(See also: New Stock Coverage: There's No Place Like 'Home' for Facebook and Stock Downgrades: Mattel Not Worth the Fisher-Price?)
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