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Stock Upgrades: Get to Know Your Nabors

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

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In a week famous for its pancakes, stocks are appropriately enough trading at their flattest for over a quarter-century. This despite the best efforts of Cliffs Natural Resources (CLF) to enliven the landscape with by nose-diving some 19.99% after a downgrade. The iron ore outfit is clearly in trouble, but Facebook (FB) - whose ad sales were called "anemic" by an analyst earlier in the week - quickly recovered from its own deficiency to rebound 1.96%.

As for the Valentine's Day portfolio, Paris-based Peugeot Citroën (PINK:PEUGY) enhanced the reputation of Earth's most romantic city by surging 7.60% and for those who can't afford real rocks, a 3.92% rise in Diamond Foods (DMND) may provide a measure of consolation. And for the lovelorn concerned about an unrequited Crush? Don't worry. After all, who needs the hassle when Dr Pepper Snapple (DPS) just dropped 5.50% to a two-month trough.

It's another relatively uneventful day in economic data but corporate earnings announcements are expected to include Agilent (A), BNP Paribas (PINK: BNPQY), CBS Corporation (CBS), DirecTV (DTV), General Motors (GM), Iberdrola (PINK:IBDRY), Molson Coors (TAP), Nestlé (PINK:NSRGY),PepsiCo (PEP), and Rolls-Royce (PINK:RYCEY).

Angie's List (ANGI): Shares, surging 28% before the bell, are boosted to Strong Buy from Outperform at Raymond James.

Anheuser-Busch InBev (BUD): Société Générale gives the brewing behemoth a Buy-from-Hold hoist, saying its revised acquisition agreement should satisfy Department of Justice concerns.

Aruba Networks (ARUN): Morgan Stanley moves the stock to Overweight from Equal-Weight.

Capella Education (CPLA): The stock gets an Outperform-from-Market Perform upgrade with Wells Fargo.

Comcast Corp. (CMCSA): RBC Capital raises its rating to Outperform from Sector Perform after its acquisition of NBC Universal. Yesterday shares touched their highest level since the 1999 market mania.

EZchip (EZCH): Saying that the risk/reward ratio is now compelling following yesterday's steep sell-off, Oppenheimer upgrades the equity to Outperform from perform. Its price objective is $31.

Ingram Micro (IM): IM gets increased to Buy from Hold at Needham, whose target price is $22. Its acquisition of BrightPoint should boost profit margins.

Leap Wireless (LEAP): LEAP is lifted to Outperform from Market Perform with Wells, which now sees fair value in the range of $10 to $15.

Masco (MAS): Citing an improving housing market, Argus moves MAS to Buy from Hold with a $25 target.

Nabors Industries (NYSE:NBR): The oil services outfit is up 3.15% ahead of the opening bell after getting added to Goldman Sachs' Conviction Buy List. Catalysts include improving North American rig activity and a potential restructuring of its businesses. The new target price is $23, up from $17.

Saks (SKS): Shares are upgraded to Outperform from Underperform at Credit Agricole.

Vanda Pharmaceuticals (VNDA): Jefferies juices its recommendation on the biotech to Buy from Hold.

Verizon Communications (VZ): The key Dow (^DJI) component gets an Outperform-from-Market Perform upgrade at Raymond James, which calls it the best RBOC (Regional Bell Operating Company) to own in 2013 on account of its impressive network utilization. Its price objective is $48.

Western Union (WU): Shares are now Buy from Neutral at Compass Point.

(See also: New Stock Coverage: Profit From Pawn Stars and Stock Downgrades: Blue Nile Up a Creek on Valentine's Day?)
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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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