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Stock Upgrades: Hollywood Ending for DreamWorks Animation


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

Shares endured their single worst session of the year as a Patriots' Day tragedy in Massachusetts made everything else irrelevant.

Investigators are now focusing their attention on the suburb of Revere, named for an icon of Boston. Paul did not, as is popularly assumed, actually say "The British are coming," but the words of a recently departed British Prime Minister do carry special resonance this morning. In 1984, hours after surviving an assassin's bomb in Brighton, Margaret Thatcher took to the stage to say that "This attack has failed." And indeed "All attempts to destroy democracy by terrorism will fail."

Elsewhere gold endured its steepest slide since January 1980, the month that Jimmy Carter announced an American boycott of the Moscow Olympics as Miracles on Ice and Cold Wars raged. (Good thing there's no danger of history repeating, eh?).

Salem Communications (SALM) nosedived 9.47% after a failed attempt to send The Witch Is Dead made its backers, and not the Iron Lady, look faintly ridiculous. Toto, it's actually terrific we're not in Kansas City Southern (KSU) any more, after a ratings reduction saw it fall 5.48%.

Today sees quarterly earnings season start in earnest, with BlackRock (BLK), Coca-Cola (KO), Goldman Sachs (GS), Intel (INTC), Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), TD Ameritrade (AMTD), and Yahoo (YHOO) among a multitude of companies releasing results.

Akzo Nobel (PINK: AKZOY): ING Group gives the stock a Buy-from-Hold boost.

Alaska Air (ALK): ALK is lifted to Buy from Hold at Deutsche Bank.

DCT Industrial Trust (DCT): The industrial Real Estate Investment Trust is raised to Buy from Neutral at Bank of America-Merrill Lynch.

Dreamworks Animation (NASDAQ:DWA): The film studio, whose past offerings have included Shrek and Kung Fu Panda, is increased an unusual 180 degrees (Buy from Sell) at B. Riley Caris. The broker, which also takes its target price up to $23.00 from $14.50, would advise purchase ahead of How to Train Your Dragon 2.

Greenbrier Companies (GBX): Sterne Agee gives GBX a Buy-from-Neutral upgrade.

Old Dominion (ODFL): JPMorgan takes the truck stock to Overweight from Neutral.

Owens Corning (OC): OC is now Buy from Neutral at Citigroup.

Pioneer Natural Resources (PXD): The stock is hoisted to Hold from Sell at Canaccord Genuity, which highlights production growth expectations in its Spraberry field among other areas.

Pinnacle Financial (PNFP): Shares get a Buy-from-Hold boost with Wunderlich, which highlights solid loan growth and an attractive relative valuation. The price objective, previously $23, increases to $26.

Sprint Nextel (S): The stock, yesterday's top S&P 500 (^GSPC) performer with a 13.50% increase, is now Overweight from Neutral at JPMorgan.

Thermo Fisher (TMO): Mizuho moves TMO to Buy from Neutral, taking its target price up by $10 to $90 on a name it says should benefit from its acquisition of high-margin Life Technologies (LIFE).

Vulcan Materials (VMC): Shares get upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Sterne Agee.

(See also: New Stock Coverage: Time to Shop at Wal-Mart and Stock Downgrades: Strayer Education Sent to Back of Class.)
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