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Stock Upgrades: Hovnanian Enterprises, Inc Laughing All The Way to Red Bank

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

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Coca-Cola (KO), based in Georgia's capital, today launches a spirited defense of NutraSweet but yesterday it was Atlanta Fed head Dennis Lockhart who soothed investor concerns by indicating that our own economic sugar rush may yet have more room to run. Financials fared well, with Citigroup (C) advancing after a noted industry analyst told CNBC shares would double. He helpfully added, "Now that's not going to happen in the next 12 months; it may not happen in the next 18 months, but it's going to happen." With such expert fence-straddling, it's a wonder why Ply Gem Holdings (PGEM) - a key purveyor of such products - nose dived an NYSE-worst 19.34%. And truth be told, no bank could hold a candle to yesterday's 12.48% jump in clothing company Jos. A. Bank (JOSB). Elsewhere, J.C. Penney (JCP) plunged an additional 3.72% after bidding an acrimonious adieu to Bill Ackman. The increasingly in-your-face hedge fund heavyweight, who chairs Howard Hughes (HHC) in his spare time, should surely now pay appropriate homage to history's most famous recluse and lay low for a little while.

Today's quarterly earnings announcements are expected to include Agilent Technologies (A), Cisco Systems (CSCO), Deere (DE), Dick's Sporting Goods (DKS), JinkoSolar (JKS), Macy's (M), NetApp (NTAP), NetEase (NTES), and Portugal Telecom (PT).

American Woodmark (AMWD): The equity is lifted to Buy from Neutral at Longbow.

Aviva (AV): Canaccord Genuity lifts the life insurer to Buy from Hold.

Cabot Microelectronics (CCMP): Shares are taken to Buy from Hold at Topeka.

Cincinnati Bell (CBB): Bank of America-Merrill Lynch takes the telecom name to Neutral from Underperform.

Cullen/Frost Bankers (CFR): The regional financial firm is raised to Perform from Underperform at Raymond James.

E-House China (EJ): TH Capital raises its rating to Buy from Hold with a $7.60 target price, citing stable policy and e-commerce initiatives.

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK): Shares of the British pharmaceutical firm are bucking a broadly lower London market this morning on the back of a Neutral-from-Underweight upgrade at JPMorgan.

Hovnanian Enterprises, Inc (HOV): UBS increases the Red Bank, New Jersey-based home-builder to Buy from Neutral following recent weakness in the sector. Shares are up about 3% as a result.

Infosys (INFY): The Indian outsourcing and information technology giant gets upgraded to Buy from Reduce at Nomura.

JAKKS Pacific (JAKK): BMO Capital takes the toy-maker to Market Perform from Underperform.

MarkWest Energy (MWE): MWE gets moved to Buy from Neutral at Goldman Sachs.

Marvell (MRVL): The technology name, Tuesday's top S&P 500 (^GSPC) stock, is today taken to Buy from Neutral at boutique broker B. Riley & Co.

Rowan Companies (RDC): ISI Group gives the oil services stock a boost to Strong Buy from Neutral.

Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A): The energy outfit, cut earlier in the week, is today taken to Overweight from Equal Weight by Barclays.

SINA Corporation (SINA): Citigroup gives the Chinese Internet outfit an unusual 180 degree (Buy from Sell) post-earnings upgrade.

Statoil (STO): Barclays boosts the Scandinavian oil stock to Overweight from Equal Weight.

(See also: Stock Downgrades: Delta Air Lines, Inc. Is No Longer Delivering Alpha and New Stock Coverage: Kite Realty Group Trust Can Fly High.)
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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