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Stock Upgrades: Research In Motion on a Roll

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

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Stocks raised the roof after encouraging debt ceiling discussions, with the Dow (^DJI) now enjoying its strongest start to a year since 1997. President Obama, caught checking his BlackBerry at yesterday's inaugural, may have been on the money after its owner Research In Motion (RIMM) rose 16.8%. He is certainly a step ahead of Sasha and Malia, who were to be found fiddling with iPhones even after Apple Inc. (AAPL) imploded another 3.9%. The stock's decline now reads like a broken record. (Kids, ask your parents about that antediluvian phase, but better do it soon for another iconic purveyor of LP's just succumbed to bankruptcy.)

Anyway, investing in the inventor of antique Walkmans would have been the best move of all, after Sony (SNE) surged 17%. "The Bronx? No Thonx", say many Manhattan snobs of New York's northernmost borough but native son Lloyd Blankfein got a nice 90% increase in his bonus at Goldman Sachs (GS). Alas Jamie Dimon, who grew up across town, is no longer the king of Queens after JPMorgan (JPM) slashed his pay in half.

This morning in economics, December existing home sales are expected to tick up slightly from the prior month's pace at 10:00 a.m. Eastern. On the corporate front, peak earnings week is upon us, with over 80 of the S&P 500 Index (^GSPC) set to announce at some stage. Among today's results, due to include a quintet of key Dow (^DJI) components, are Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), Coach (COH), CSX Corp. (CSX), Delta Air Lines (DAL), DuPont (DD), Freeport-McMoRan (FCX), Google (GOOG), International Business Machines (IBM), Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), TD Ameritrade (AMTD), Texas Instruments (TXN), Travelers Companies (TRV), and Verizon (VZ).

Allegheny Technologies (ATI): JPMorgan takes ATI to Underweight from Neutral.

ASML Holding (ASML): Deutsche Bank raises its rating to Hold from Sell.

Bank of Kentucky (BKYF): Shares get an Outperform-from-Neutral upgrade at Robert W. Baird, which takes its price target to $32 from $27. Catalysts include ongoing organic and acquisition-related growth.

Goodrich Petroleum (GDP): BMO Capital gives GDP an Outperform-from-Market Perform upgrade.

Newcrest Mining (PINK:NCMGY) The equity is increased to Outperform from Neutral at Credit Suisse.

Rémy Cointreau (PINK:REMYF): Société Générale hoists the spirits maker to Hold from Sell.

Research in Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM): The recently surging stock is upgraded to Outperform from Sector Perform at Scotia Capital, which also increases its price objective to $23 from $18.60. Reviews of its BlackBerry 10 suggest its browser and screen resolution is superior to Apple Inc's (AAPL) competing iPhone 5. Shares, up sharply last week, are gaining a further 9% before this morning's opening bell.

State Street (STT): JPMorgan takes the financial firm to Neutral from Underweight.

Viacom (VIAB): As part of its overall upgrade of the U.S. media group to "Attractive", Goldman Sachs gives the broadcasting giant a boost to Buy from Neutral. Reasons for optimism on the stock include improving Nickelodeon ratings and expectations for accelerating domestic advertising growth.

(See also: New Stock Coverage: American Tower Stands Tall and Stock Downgrades: Urban Outfitters Sent to Siberia.)
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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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