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Stock Upgrades: Google Is Going Places

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

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The music industry partied like it was 1999 all over again and if markets couldn't quite recapture all of their own Millennial madness, stocks still scored good gains. With all eyes on election shenanigans in Italy, investors were only too happy to wake up with a Horsehead (ZINC) in their bed, that stock riding bullish research comments to advance 1.69%.

Yahoo's (YHOO) ballet-loving Marissa Mayer really ought to know all about Swan Lake, so it was surprising she was blindsided by a black swan. Her mood likely won't be improved by this morning's upgrade-related advance in ex-employer Google (GOOG).

Elsewhere investors told HSBC Holdings (HBC) CEO Stuart Gulliver - with a last name like that, he surely enjoys his Travels - where to go after Europe's largest bank suffered its steepest slide since the summer. And cemetery stock Carriage Services (CSV) put the fun in funeral, advancing 3.28% to a fresh 52-week peak. But that isn't the end of the matter.

This morning in economics, analysts expect an increase in January pending home sales at 10:00 a.m. Eastern, and Fed head Ben Bernanke concludes two days of monetary testimony on Capitol Hill. In earnings activity, Anheuser-Busch (BUD), Cincinnati Bell (CBB), Dollar Tree (DLTR), European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (PINK:EADSY), Fortress Investment (FIG), Groupon (GRPN), JC Penney (JCP), Limited Brands (LTD), Target (TGT), and TJX Companies (TJX) are all due to report results.

Allianz (AZ): Shares are moved to Market Perform from Underperform at Keefe Bruyette.

Allscripts-Misys Healthcare (MDRX): Credit Suisse moves the shares to Outperform from Neutral.

Biogen Idec (BIIB): The biotech is increased to Buy from Hold at Canaccord.

Darden Restaurants (DRI): The owner of Olive Garden and Red Lobster gets lifted to Neutral from Underperform at Bank of America-Merrill Lynch.

Edison International (EIX): Stock in the electric utility is up ahead of the open after a Buy-from-Neutral boost at SunTrust, which approvingly notes its lower costs and favorable tax rate trends. Its price objective is $51.

Google (NASDAQ:GOOG): The Internet search giant is now Buy from Neutral at Bank of America-Merrill Lynch, which also takes its target price up to $920 from $790. Multiple expansion and increased revenue opportunities abound, the broker believes, including Product Listing Ads and potential Motorola product launches. Shares are up ahead of the open as a result.

J.B. Hunt Transport Services (JBHT): Avondale increases its investment opinion to Outperform from Market Perform, taking its target up by $20 to $80 in the process amid improving intermodal volumes and pricing.

Lincoln National (LNC): Bank of America-Merrill Lynch moves the insurance outfit to Buy from Neutral.

Nokia (NOK): The Finish telecom titan is taken to Buy from Hold with a $6 objective at Argus, which highlights improved growth prospects in mid-tier and low-end phones.

Oasis Petroleum (OAS): Shares get raised to Outperform from Market Perform at Raymond James.

Paper & Packaging: Longbow gives Buy-from-Neutral lofts to both International Paper (IP) and Rock-Tenn (RKT).

RadioShack (RSH) Raymond James raises its recommendation to Market Perform from Underperform.

(See also: New Stock Coverage: These Days, You're Either LinkedIn or You're Left Out and Stock Downgrades: Storm Clouds Gather Over First Solar.)

Editor's Note: Today at 4:30 p.m. ET, Minyanville is hosting a free webinar with Buzz & Banter contributor Peter Prudden, who will give attendees an in-depth look at his macroeconomic outlook and trading style. To sign up for this free event, click here and hit the register button on the upper-left side of the screen.
No positions in stocks mentioned.
The information on this website solely reflects the analysis of or opinion about the performance of securities and financial markets by the writers whose articles appear on the site. The views expressed by the writers are not necessarily the views of Minyanville Media, Inc. or members of its management. Nothing contained on the website is intended to constitute a recommendation or advice addressed to an individual investor or category of investors to purchase, sell or hold any security, or to take any action with respect to the prospective movement of the securities markets or to solicit the purchase or sale of any security. Any investment decisions must be made by the reader either individually or in consultation with his or her investment professional. Minyanville writers and staff may trade or hold positions in securities that are discussed in articles appearing on the website. Writers of articles are required to disclose whether they have a position in any stock or fund discussed in an article, but are not permitted to disclose the size or direction of the position. Nothing on this website is intended to solicit business of any kind for a writer's business or fund. Minyanville management and staff as well as contributing writers will not respond to emails or other communications requesting investment advice.

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