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Stock Upgrades: Rising Tide at Old Navy Lifts Gap


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

"Buy on the sound of cannons; sell on the sound of trumpets." Fabled financier Nathan Rothschild's advice from 1810 proved equally on the money in 2013. When Canon's (CAJ) closing bell officially ended trading on Monday, a rare down session in equities, investors promptly took it as a sign to buy big on Tuesday.

The Fed may be readying to remove its long-running sugar rush, but with Häagen-Dazs offering free ice cream and Ben & Jerry's owner Unilever (UN) just upgraded, market hypoglycemics need not fret. The S&P 500 Index (^GSPC) hit yet another record in a Roaring Twenties market the reborn Great Gatsby would instantly recognize.

Zale Corporation (ZLC), which bills itself as "America's diamond store since 1924,″ surged 12.03%. In his famous book, F. Scott Fitzgerald famously said that "the city seen from the Queensboro Bridge is always the city seen for the first time, in its first wild promise of all the mystery and the beauty in the world." TJX Companies (TJX), which built an outpost beside the bridge, appropriately enough hit the highest level in its history after advancing 1.87%.

On the earnings front, Arctic Cat (ACAT), Cisco Systems (CSCO), Computer Sciences (CSC), Deere (DE), easyJet (OTCMKTS:ESYJY), Jack in the Box (JACK), Macy's (M), and Skechers USA (SKX) are all due to report results today.

Aéropostale (ARO): BMO Capital Markets moves the apparel outfit to Outperform from Market Perform, sending it up 3.1% this morning.

Commerzbank (OTCMKTS:CRZBD): The German bank, up nicely in today's European trading, is now Neutral from Reduce at Nomura.

Crédit Agricole (OTCMKTS:CRARY): JPMorgan moves its fellow financial firm to Overweight from Neutral.

Gap Inc. (NYSE:GPS): Citigroup raises its recommendation on the clothing company, whose other brands include Banana Republic, to Buy from Neutral, taking its price target up by $8 to $48. Old Navy's "must-have products" "are…inspirational and convenient," its analyst wrote in a note. Shares are, accordingly, up 1.5% as I write.

Inergy (NRGY): NRGY is now Overweight from Neutral at JPMorgan.

Mediaset SpA (OTCMKTS:MDIUY): The Milanese media empire overseen by Silvio Berlusconi is increased to Buy from Neutral at UBS.

Prudential Financial (PRU): Argus increases the insurance outfit to Buy from Hold.

Regal-Beloit (RBC): RBC is raised to Outperform from Neutral at Credit Suisse.

Unilever (UN): The consumer products powerhouse, owner of household names including Axe and Vaseline, gets a Buy-from-Reduce raise at Nomura.

(See also: New Stock Coverage: LinkedIn Will Have a Hard Job Maintaining Gains and Stock Downgrades: Domino's Pizza Is Overdue for a Drop.)
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