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Stock Upgrades: Happy Headlines at USA Today Owner Gannett


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

Up, down, up, down, up. Market action over the past five trading sessions could be characterized as schizo, but on a manic Monday, Only the Paranoid Survived. Intel (INTC), whose ex-CEO once authored a book by that name, topped both the Dow (^DJI) and S&P 500 (^GSPC) with an upgrade-inspired 3.95% surge.

Merck (MRK) gained 3.75%, making it the second best blue chip, amid high hopes for its oncology products. However Roche Holding (OTCMKTS:RHHBY), the world leader in cancer drugs, slumped 3.7% in its worst session for 18 months. This as we got the depressing news that the "emperor of all maladies" remains as stubbornly hard to treat as when the war on it was first declared some four decades ago.

Elsewhere, Marriott (MAR) rose on a broker boost, but its closest competitor is doing away with room service. At least USA Today, a ubiquitous presence in the country's hotel rooms, is poised to get up off the floor this morning.

Today's quarterly earnings announcements are due to include American Woodmark (AMWD) and Dollar General (DG).

Altera (ALTR): Argus takes the tech name to Buy from Hold.

CME Group (CME): Saying Dodd-Frank related regulations represent an opportunity, Wells Fargo raises its recommendation on the exchange operator to Outperform from Market Perform.

eBay Inc. (EBAY): The online auctioneer is now Buy from Neutral at Compass Point, whose target price is $63. Mobile is seen as a potential cash cow for the company, which is aiming for 15% to 19% compound annual adjusted EPS (earnings per share) growth through 2015.

First Potomac Realty Trust (FPO): Raymond James juices its rating to Market Perform from Outperform.

Gannett (NYSE:GCI): An improved digital outlook and plump dividend yield are key factors behind Argus moving the media outfit to Buy from Hold. Its price objective is $25.

Home Properties (HME): UBS hoists HME to Neutral from Sell.

Kadant (KAI): The diversified machinery stock is moved to Outperform from Market Perform by Barrington.

Progessive Waste (BIN): BIN gets boosted to Buy from Hold at BB&T Capital Markets.

Seadrill (SDRL): Shares are now Buy from Hold at Nordea Securities.

Société Générale (OTCMKTS:SCGLY): Stock in the French financial firm is up almost 2% in today's European trading on a Buy-from-Neutral boost at Goldman Sachs, which says it is inexpensively valued at current levels.

Toll Brothers (TOL): MKM Partners lifts the luxury home builder to Buy from Neutral.

Walter Investment Management (WAC): The mortgage investment outfit is moved to Outperform from Market Perform with Wells Fargo.

(See also: New Stock Coverage: Mo' Money, No Problems for MoSys and Stock Downgrades: Railing Against Canadian Pacific.)
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