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Stock Upgrades: Miracle on 34th Street for Macy's


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

Ed Koch, who was laid to rest yesterday, was known to enjoy occasional bull, uh, fighting sessions. It was thus eerily appropriate that his funeral coincided with Matador Resources (MTDR) falling 1.03% to an all time low on a day of pain in Spain.

Wall Street suffered a serious case of the Mondays amid allegations that the government in Madrid indulged in a campaign of kickbacks. (Being home to the planet's best soccer team, the charge seems entirely plausible.) Moving from fútbol to football, the newly renamed BlackBerry (BBRY) saw an immediate boost from its Super Bowl ad, surging 15.02% after scoring an analyst upgrade.

Hershey's (HSY) Kisses, by contrast, need mouth-to-mouth resuscitation after getting downgraded by Goldman (GS). Though that still doesn't qualify it for the scariest lip-lock we've seen recently.

Today in economics, a slight slippage is seen in the Institute for Supply Management's January non-manufacturing index at 10:00 a.m. Eastern. In earnings action, Archer Daniels Midland (ADM), BP Plc (BP), Estée Lauder (EL), Kellogg (K), NYSE Euronext, Sirius XM Radio (SIRI), Take-Two Interactive Software (TTWO), Toyota Motor (TM), UBS AG (UBS), Walt Disney (DIS), and Zynga (ZNGA) are all due to report results.

Acme Packet (APKT): Shares are moved to Neutral from Underperform at Mizuho, which also increases its price objective to $29.25 from $13 after the announcement it will be acquired by Oracle (ORCL).

AK Steel (AKS): AKS is upgraded to Buy from Fair Value at CRT Capital.

Associated Banc-Corp (ASBC): Morgan Stanley moves the stock to Equal-Weight from Underweight.

A.T. Cross (ATX): The pen manufacturer is raised to Buy from Neutral with a $14 price objective at Roth Capital after announcing it will explore strategic alternatives aimed at unlocking shareholder value.

Banco Bilbao Vizcaya (BBVA): The Spanish financial firm is now Neutral from Sell at UBS.

Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY): BBBY gets a Buy-from-Neutral boost at Citigroup.

DR Horton (DHI): Barclays hoists the homebuilder to Overweight from Equal Weight.

Harmony Gold (HMY): Impressed with an increasingly attractive valuation, Citigroup gives the commodity company a Neutral-from-Sell upgrade.

New York Community Bancorp (NYCB): Shares are now Overweight from Equal-Weight at Morgan Stanley.

Retailers: Macy's (NYSE:M) and Target (NYSE:TGT) are both moved to Buy from Neutral at Citigroup. For Macy's, Citi says it stands to benefit from accelerating comparative store sales growth this year, and the price objective increases to $46 from $38.

Stillwater Mining (SWC): JPMorgan moves the stock to Overweight from Neutral.

UnitedHealth (UNH): The recent Dow (^DJI) addition is added to Goldman Sachs' list of Conviction Buys.

Zynga (ZNGA): The stock is lifted to Buy from Neutral at Bank of America-Merrill Lynch, sending it up sharply this morning.

(See also: New Stock Coverage: Intel Only Semiconscious and Stock Downgrades: Yum Brands Giving Investors Indigestion.)
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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