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Stock Upgrades: Pier 1 Imports Inc Walks on Water

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

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Stocks fell after Coca-Cola's (KO) sugar rush proved a lot less effective than Ben Bernanke's. The soft drink giant dropped 1.90% to lead Dow (^DJI) laggards after announcing earnings. Also releasing results was Goldman Sachs (GS). It beat Street estimates, yet still slumped as Reuters reported investors were worried such a stellar set of numbers "could not easily be repeated." Rinse "and repeat" is of course the most ingeniously effective sales technique of all time, and No More Tears shampoo must have been flying off the shelves at Johnson & Johnson (JNJ): It hit the highest level in its history.

House of Cards producer Netflix (NFLX) bucked a down day to take its 12-month increase to 213.91%. This as automatic card shuffler maker SHFL Entertainment (SHFL) surged 21.98% to top the Nasdaq (^IXIC). And Marissa Mayer's Yahoo (YHOO) fell 1.68% ahead of earnings. As a fierce opponent of telecommuting, she will, however, have been happy to see car companies slump an S&P 500 (^GSPC)-worst 1.8% on a ratings reduction.

Today Federal Reserve head Ben Bernanke begins his semiannual testimony on Capitol Hill at 10:00 Eastern. The Fed will also release its Beige Book detailing regional economic conditions in a dozen districts, at 2:00 p.m. Hump Day of peak earnings week is here, with announcements expected out of Abbott Labs (ABT), American Express (AXP), Bank of America (BAC), eBay Inc (EBAY), Intel (INTC), International Business Machines (IBM), Mattel (MAT), and Novartis (NVS) among a multitude of others.

Adobe Systems (ADBE): The stock is moved to Market Perform from Underperform at FBR Capital, sending it higher ahead of the open.

Akzo Nobel (AKZOY): Shares get boosted to Equal Weight from Underweight by Barclays.

BorgWarner (BWA): BWA is taken to Outperform from Neutral by Robert W. Baird, which also increases its price objective to $107 from $87 amid an improved European outlook and ample cash flow.

British American Tobacco (BTI): Shares are now Buy from Neutral at Natixis Bleichroeder.

Franklin Resources (BEN): The stock is upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at BMO Capital.

Linn Energy (LINE): Goldman Sachs lifts LINE to Buy from Hold. Shares are surging about 6% as a result.

Pier 1 Imports Inc (PIR): Shares get upgraded to Buy from Hold with a $27 price target at Argus, which says CEO Alexander Smith can continue to successfully propel sales.

RSA Insurance (RSANY): Citigroup raises its rating to Buy from Hold.

Synergetics (SURG): Wunderlich raises its rating to Buy from Hold and takes its target price up to $5.80 from $5.50. Catalysts include new products.

Telefonica (TEF): TEF is taken to Neutral from Underperform at Macquarie.

(See also: New Stock Coverage: Going Gaga Over Gogo Inc and Stock Downgrades: Analyst Has Big Beef With McDonald's Corporation.)
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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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