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Stock Upgrades: No Need for Intel to Have a Chip on Its Shoulder


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

After zigzagging for seven straight weeks, the Dow (^DJI) finally managed to post its first successive weekly increases since mid-March. (Although a fat lot of good that did ZAGG Inc. (ZAGG), which tumbled 27.77% on Friday in posting the Nasdaq's (^IXIC) single poorest performance.)

On May Day, when "workers of the world unite!" Karl Marx was no match for Woodstock for Capitalists as an analyst began covering Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK.A) with a Buy rating and $184,000.00 price objective.

Recently deceased country music icon George Jones received a touching swansong at the Grand Ole Opry, where black swans are alive and well, apparently. This as Tennessee's own HCA Holdings (HCA) surged 7.2%, despite having once been embroiled in an accounting scandal that many thought would damage it irreparably. In Nashville, I guess it's okay to fiddle around with the books.

No top-tier data economic due today, but earnings announcements are expected out of Anadarko Petroleum (APC), Apollo Global (APO), EOG Resources (EOG), First Solar (FSLR), Frontier Communications (FTR), Sysco Corporation (SYY), Target (TGT), and Tyson Foods (TSN).

ADT Corporation (ADT): Shares are upgraded to Equal-Weight from Underweight at Morgan Stanley.

CBL & Associates Properties (CBL): Goldman Sachs gives the real estate stock a Buy-from-Neutral boost.

CNOOC Ltd. (CEO): China's oil giant is now Buy from Neutral at UBS.

Cliffs Natural Resources (CLF): Welcome relief today for the troubled iron ore outfit, whose shares have tumbled 65.83% in the past year. It gets upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at FBR Capital, whose target price is $28. A series of meetings with management has convinced the broker that CLF can both boost reserves in Australia and benefit from higher domestic prices in China. The stock is up before the bell as a result.

Dollar General (DG): Bank of America-Merrill Lynch lifts the discount retailer to Buy from Neutral.

Honeywell (HON): Shares are added to the Top Picks Live list at Citigroup.

Humana (HUM): The managed care company gets moved to Overweight from Neutral at JPMorgan.

Intel (NASDAQ:INTC): Shares have slid 14.12% over the past year but there is better news for the chip stock this morning. Highlighting both increased optimism over its ultra-mobile prospects and solidifying gross margins, RBC Capital raises the key Dow (^DJI) component to Outperform from Sector Perform. The price objective also increases, to $29 from $24. The company, which has also just announced its acquisition of a Finish company for $389 million, is according seeing shares gain ahead of the open.

Intuit (INTU): The TurboTax owner is increased to Overweight from Equal Weight at First Analysis, with the current valuation providing a more compelling entry point for investors.

Man Group (PINK:MNGPF): The British money manager, whose shares surged last week, is boosted to Buy from Neutral at UBS.

Mercer International (MERC): RBC Capital raises the paper and forest products powerhouse to Outperform from Sector Perform.

Neutral Tandem (IQNT): Morgan Stanley moves the wireless communications company to Equal-Weight from Underweight.

Provident Financial (PROV): Raymond James raises its recommendation to Outperform from Market Perform.

Semiconductor Stocks: Robert W. Baird raises both Diodes (DIOD) and Fairchild Semiconductor (NYSE:FCS), increasing their respective price objectives to $29 and $20. Catalysts include an improvement in supply chain inventories.

Thoratec (THOR): Credit Suisse takes THOR to Neutral from Underperform.

Transocean (RIG): The oil services outfit gets taken to Strong Buy from Buy at ISI Group.

United Natural Foods (UNFI): UBS increases its investment opinion to Buy from Neutral.

YRC Worldwide (YRCW): Shares are hoisted to Hold from Underweight at BB&T Capital Markets.

(See also: New Stock Coverage: Hanesbrands Stock Run Has L'eggs and Stock Downgrades: Analyst Goes Nuclear on Exelon.)
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