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Stock Upgrades: The Earth Just Moved for Joy Global


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

They say a house is not a home, but Ben Bernanke's testimony before the House and stellar pending home sales data sent stocks surging, even if the organization behind January's data is famous for its fuzzy math.

Co-ops and condominiums shared center stage with condoms and condiments, with Trojan maker Church & Dwight (CHD) hitting the highest level in its history while ketchup king H.J. Heinz (HNZ) attracted ever more unwanted attention.

Increasingly arthritic baby boomers foregoing sex in favor of comfort sent squishy memory foam mattress maker Tempur-Pedic's (TPX) up 8.74%. (Breeders fear not, however, for Hurricane Sandy apparently has a nice little dividend in stork nine months on.) And the soothsayers who use sunspots to predict stock action never saw it coming; an utterly unloved First Solar (FSLR) slumped 13.78%.

Today in economics, analysts expect a slight slippage in the Chicago Purchasing Managers Index for February at 9:45 a.m. Eastern. In earnings action, Ahold (PINK:AHONY), Barnes & Noble(BKS), Cablevision (CVC), Deckers (DECK), Gap (GPS), Iron Mountain (IRM), Kohl's (KSS), Molycorp (MCP), Palo Alto Networks (PANW), Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), and Sears Holdings (SHLD) are all due to report results.

Amerisafe (AMSF): SunTrust Robinson Humphrey hoists the communication equipment outfit to Neutral from Reduce.

Anheuser-Busch InBev (BUD): The beer - or water - glass is apparently half full at this brewer, now Outperform from Neutral at Credit Suisse due to a strong balance sheet and Grupo Modelo (PINK:GPMCY) synergies.

Deutsche Bank (DB): The German financial giant gets an Outperform-from-Market Perform upgrade at Keefe Bruyette.

Edison International (EIX): BMO Capital boosts the electric utility to Outperform from Market Perform and also increases its price objective by $9, to $56. Catalysts include OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) savings, energy efficiency, and assorted tax benefits.

Joy Global (JOY): The maker of earth-moving machines, fresh from yesterday's 5.82% surge, gets upgraded to Buy from Underperform at Crédit Agricole.

Lamar Advertising (LAMR): Piper Jaffray juices the billboard and outdoor advertising behemoth to Neutral from Underweight amid the prospect of it converting to a REIT (Real Estate Investment Trust.) The target price is taken to $43 from $22.

(See also: New Stock Coverage: Time to PayPal Around With eBay and Stock Downgrades: Groupon Is Thursday's Disaster du Jour.)
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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