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Stock Upgrades: Raising a Toast to SABMiller

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

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MINYANVILLE ORIGINAL Santa succeeded where another man with a white beard failed utterly 24 hours earlier. Granted, St. Nick did nothing for St. Jude (STJ), which tumbled 12.15% on a ratings reduction, but the overall market did end up on Wednesday amid predictably thin trading ahead of the heaviest calorie consumption of 2012.

While America prepared to stuff itself, Scholastic (SCHL) slid 18.18% on weaker-than-expected sales of The Hunger Games, but Buckle (BKE) hit the highest level in its history just before our overeating made belt-tightening impossible. (Weight-loss leader Vivus (VVUS) surged 13.33% in advance of the gluttony.)

Nokia (NOK) of Finland, the birthplace of Angry Bids, jumped 12.20% to top the entire NYSE. And yesterday, while 300 million of us were enjoying our turkey, the land of General Tso's chicken learned that the sky may not in fact be falling, as a key manufacturing gauge in China grew for the first time in over a year.

There's no top-tier economic or earnings announcements out today, and the stock market is set to close early at 1:00 p.m. Eastern.

Ahold (AHONY): Shares are now Buy from Neutral at Nomura.

Alumina (AWC): JPMorgan moves the commodity company to Neutral from Underweight.

ENI S.p.A. (E): The Italian energy outfit gets increased to Outperform from Neutral at Macquarie.

PetroQuest Energy (PQ): Stifel Nicolaus hoists the equity to Buy from Hold.

Pretium Resources (PVG): The name is now Perform from Underperfrom at CIBC World Markets.

SABMiller (PINK:SBMRY) Shares in the brewing giant, whose brands include Coors Light, are up in overseas trading today after getting a Neutral-from-Reduce lift at Nomura. The broker is encouraged by a recently reported increase in net profit.

Telecom Italia (TI): HSBC Securities takes TI to Neutral from Underweight.

Valeo (VLEEY): Goldman Sachs gives the stock a Buy-from-Neutral boost.

(See also: Stock Downgrades: Don't Get Fleeced by Gildan Activewear.)
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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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