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Stock Upgrades: Louis Vuitton Living Large in Luxury's Lap


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

MINYANVILLE ORIGINAL Last week's S&P 500 (^GSPC) leading 14% increase in poultry powerhouse Tyson Foods (TSN) tended to confirm that scientists had it right in saying the chicken came before the egg. At least before Egg Beaters owner Ralcorp (RAH) rose 26.44% yesterday to take top honors after being bought for $5 billion by ConAgra (CAG), whose own 4.74% increase was unusual for an acquirer. Normally the purchasing stock is dead money on the day of the deal, but the maker of Orville Redenbacher popcorn knows better than most that death is merely a passing phase.

Elsewhere McMoRan Exploration (MMR) led NYSE laggards, falling 15.23% to a fresh low following a ratings reduction. It apparently has issues with Davy Jones, who, if memory serves, was a wonderful member of The Monkees. Meanwhile Gorilla Glass sent Corning (GLW) surging 6.87% in its best showing for seven months.

Today in economics, analysts expect October new home sales to tick up at 10:00 a.m. Eastern, and the Fed releases its Beige Book outlining regional financial conditions at 2:00 p.m. On the earnings front, Aéropostale ARO), American Eagle (AEO), Express Inc. (EXPR), Fresh Market (TFM), Guess (GES), Movado Group (MOV), Pall Corp. (PLL), rue21 (RUE), TiVo Inc. (TIV), and Workday (WDAY) are all due to reveal results.

Akamai Technologies (AKAM): Shares are taken to Overweight from Equal Weight at Piper Jaffray.

AK Steel (AKS): Heartened by improved near-term liquidity after recent debt and equity issuance, Dahlman Rose raises its recommendation on the recently slumping commodity company to Hold from Sell.

Compass Group (CMPGY): Jefferies juices its recommendation to Hold from Sell.

Delhaize Group (DEG): Shares of the Belgian grocery giant are trading sharply higher in Europe this morning on the back of an Outperform-from-Neutral boost by BNP Paribas.

Energy Stocks: Deutsche Bank gives Buy-from-Hold upgrades to Hercules Offshore (HERO), Patterson-UTI (PTEN), and Pioneer Energy (PES).

IAMGOLD (IAG): HSBC Securities hoists the commodity company to Overweight from Neutral.

LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton (PINK:LVMUY): The Paris-based luxury goods giant, whose other upscale brands include Dom Pérignon, Fendi, and Bulgari, is trading higher in London today after a lift at Nomura to Buy from Neutral.

Nabors Industries (NBR): The oil services outfit is now Buy from Hold at Deutsche Bank, which also takes its target price up by $6 to $28. Catalysts include an upbeat secular outlook for natural gas demand. The stock is up ahead of the open as a result.

Veolia Environnement (VE): Shares are now Overweight from Neutral at HSBC Securities.

Vornado Realty Trust (VNO): The REIT gets raised to Buy from Neutral at Citigroup.

(See also: Stock Downgrades: Sherwin-Williams Painting the Tape Red and New Stock Coverage: Amazon Is a Money Tree.)
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