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Stock Upgrades: Future Looks Bright for Pacific Sunwear

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

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Who needs Paris when you've got, er, Pittsburgh? On Valentine's Day, investors fell further in love with Steel City, fresh from it being anointed the unlikeliest of romantic capitals. Two of its icons bucked an otherwise desultory trading session, with condiment king H.J. Heinz (HNZ) surging 19.87% and Alcoa (AA) easily besting all Blue Chips (^DJI) by advancing 2.09%.

Elsewhere the timeless seduction adage of "candy is dandy but liquor is quicker" proved decent investment advice as confectionery company Nestlé (PINK:NSRGY) tumbled 2.09% even as winemaker Constellation Brands (STZ) jumped 37.23%.

For those not in a committed relationship, an evening of friends with benefits saw alcohol outfit Anheuser-Busch (BUD) rise 5.10% so Paul Simon was right when he said there are indeed 50 ways to lose your liver. And electric utility Entergy (ETR), which did so much to boost the business of candlelit dinners with its blackout at the Super Bowl, tumbled 2.92% to a fresh 52-week trough on a ratings reduction.

It's a fairly busy Friday ahead of the long weekend, with stock markets closed on Monday for Presidents' Day. This morning in economics, we get the University of Michigan's preliminary consumer confidence figure for February at 9:55 a.m. Eastern. In earnings action, Aegon (AEG), Anglo American (PINK: AAUKY), Campbell Soup (CPB), Commerzbank (PINK:CRZBY), ENI SpA (E), Forum Energy Technology (FET), IPG Photonics (IPGP), Kraft Foods (KRFT), TRW Automotive (TRW), and V.F. Corporation (VFC) are all due to report results.

Ahold: (PINK:AHONY): Cantor Fitzgerald raises its recommendation on the Dutch grocery giant to Buy from Hold.

HJ Heinz (HNZ): The ketchup king, now in Warren Buffett's pantry after yesterday being bought for $28 billion or $72.50 a share in cash, is increased to Neutral from Sell at Goldman Sachs.

inContact Inc. (SAAS): Pointing to the firm's better than expected earnings and forward guidance, Roth Capital raises its recommendation to Buy from Neutral with a $7.50 price target.

Kinross Gold (KGC) Credit Suisse hoists the commodity company to Outperform from Neutral with an $11.50 price objective. Its valuation is seen as compelling at current levels. Shares are up before the bell as a result.

NETGEAR (NTGR): Shares get a Buy-from-Neutral boost at Sterne Agee.

Nokia (NOK): Nordea boosts the Scandinavian telecom titan to Strong Buy from Buy.

Pacific Sunwear of California (NASDAQ:PSUN): The stock is now Buy from Neutral at DA Davidson, which notes an improved merchandising mix and potential acceleration in same-store-sales. Its target is also taken up to $3.50 from $2.20.

Precision Drilling (PDS): Raymond James juices its rating to Outperform from Market Perform after a strong earnings announcement.

Valspar (VAL): VAL is upgraded to Overweight from Equal Weight at First Analysis.

(See also: New Stock Coverage: GPS Giant Garmin Finds a Friend and Stock Downgrades: Stop Hoarding Storage Stocks.)
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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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