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Stock Upgrades: Merrill Says Marissa Mayer's Yahoo Honeymoon Isn't Over


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

The Iron Lady - who didn't do U-turns - would not have appreciated the phrase on the eve of her funeral, but as an arch capitalist, she would have enjoyed shares rebounding 180 degrees from Monday's slump.

"Ask not for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee." Actually, Big Ben's chimes were just silenced for the first time since Winston Churchill was buried, but Toll Brothers (TOL) rose 2.95% by the closing bell on upbeat housing data.

The current cover of Barron's suggests Priceline (PCLN) spokesman Captain Kirk is in for a rough ride, but his loyal lieutenant Spock is indeed able to "live long and prosper" after Vulcan Materials (VMC) rode a ratings increase to surge 6.80%. And the IMF warned us that there is "no silver bullet" to cure what ails the world's economy. Pity, with the white metal having just imploded 18% in two days, such a cure certainly wouldn't cost much.

This afternoon in economics, the Fed releases its beige book detailing regional economic conditions in a dozen districts at 2:00 p.m. Eastern. On the earnings front, Hump Day of a peak reporting week sees announcements out of Abbott Labs (ABT), American Express (AXP), Bank of America (BAC), eBay Inc. (EBAY), and Mattel (MAT).

AngloGold (AU): The stock gets a Buy-from-Hold boost at Deutsche Bank.

Boise (BZ): Shares are taken to Buy from Hold at TD Securities.

Cathay Pacific Airways (PINK:CPCAY): Shares get a highly unusual 180 degree (Buy from Sell) upgrade at Deutsche Bank.

Eagle Materials (EXP): Longbow lifts the cement name to Buy from Neutral.

Gold Fields (GFI): Deutsche Bank hoists the commodity company to Buy from Hold.

Intel (INTC): The semiconductor stock, a Dow (^DJI) member, is moved to Buy from Hold at Drexel Hamilton.

MetroPCS (PCS): The telecom stock gets upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Guggenheim.

NCR Corp (NCR): NCR is now Buy from Neutral at Compass Point, which also increases its price objective $33 from $30 on a company it says can benefit from its recent acquisitions in the Retail Solutions and Hospitality segments.

Syngenta (SYT): The chemical company gets raised to Buy from Neutral at Nomura.

Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO): Shares, under pressure as I write after last night's earnings announcement, nonetheless get a Buy-from-Neutral boost this morning at Bank of America-Merrill Lynch. (Separately, Jefferies and Raymond James are taking their targets up to $24 and $27 respectively, up from $20 and $26 previously, while maintaining their overall ratings.)

(See also: New Stock Coverage: Lululemon Stock Sheer Bliss and Stock Downgrades: Deere Not Making Dough.)
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