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Stock Upgrades: Guinness Owner Diageo Swimming in Sea of Green

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

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MINYANVILLE ORIGINAL John Boehner's one-minute press conference saw gains Gone in 60 Seconds, to quote a movie about a car thief. (Perhaps a poor choice of title given that General Motors (GM), which surged 6.63%, was altogether exempt from the market's overall malaise.) Annie's (BNNY) fell 4.63%, its stock trading - with all due respect to the little orphan of the same name -like there is no Tomorrow, which, if the Mayans are right, will be all too literally true.

Trina Solar (TSL) surged 9.27% as it was announced that a coal museum would convert to sun power. An analyst upgrade allowed Dunkin' Donuts (DNKN) to buck a bad day by ending up 0.55%. Which will doubtless please a police officer who, adhering to the age-old advice that a (career) change is as good as arrest, decided to open a shop selling the sweet treats.

Today in economics, November existing home sales and leading indicators are each out at 10:00 a.m. Eastern, as is December's Philadelphia Fed Index. On the corporate front, CarMax (KMX), Cintas (CTAS), ConAgra (CAG), Darden Restaurants (DRI), Discover Financial (DFS), KB Home (KBH), Micron (MU), Nike (NKE), Research In Motion (RIMM), Rite Aid (RAD), and Winnebago Industries (WGO) are all due to release results.

Diageo (NYSE:DEO): JPMorgan moves the maker of Guinness, Johnnie Walker, and Ketel One to Neutral from Underweight.

Everest Re (RE): RE is raised to Overweight from Neutral at JPMorgan, which says its underwriting and reserves issues are behind it. The price target is $125.

FLIR Systems (FLIR): Sterne Agee gives the stock a Buy-from-Neutral boost.

Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold (FCX): Saying the recent share price plunge provides an opportunity for investors, Deutsche Bank boosts the commodity company to Buy from Hold. Its price objective, at $40 price, remains intact.

HomeAway (AWAY): Shares are upgraded to Overweight from Equal Weight by Barclays.

LaSalle Hotel Properties (LHO): Cowen lifts LHO to Outperform from Neutral based on valuation, expectations for improved DC market fundamentals, and recent acquisition activity.

Stantec (STN): STN is upgraded to Outperform from Sector Perform at RBC Capital on account of solid fundamentals.

(See also: New Stock Coverage: Porsche Stuck in Neutral and Stock Downgrades: Research In Motion Rolling Downhill.)

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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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