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Stock Upgrades: Tilly's Is a Teenage Dream


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

An adaptation of Washington Irving's Sleepy Hollow just premiered to boffo business but it is another of the author's somnambulant creations - namely Rip Van Winkle - that most comes to mind as Mister Market awakes as if Lehman never happened. (For good measure, the top S&P 500 Index (INDEXSP:.INX) stock over the past five years is Regeneron (NASDAQ:REGN), based in the headless horseman headquarters of Tarrytown.) That a man who brought Merrill Lynch to its knees during the financial crisis is now on the board of Alcoa Inc. (NYSE:AA) - yesterday's best-performing Dow (INDEXDJX:.DJI) component, incidentally - indicates just how little accountability came with the Great Recession.

Among equities on the move, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) snapped a brutal slide to advance 1.16% and Abercrombie & Fitch (NYSE:ANF), involved in a contentious campaign to take over London's old Apple Corps building made famous by The Beatles, rose 2.92%. The hoity-toity types it encountered there are known in England as "chinless wonders" but yesterday it was double chins that proved profitable for Kythera Biopharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:KYTH), which jumped 25.11% to top the Nasdaq (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC).

Today the Federal Open Market Committee concludes its two-day policy setting meeting in Washington, DC, with an interest rate announcement expected at 2:00 p.m. Eastern. Ben Bernanke is due to host a press conference at 2:30 p.m. In corporate earnings action, Cracker Barrel (NASDAQ:CBRL), FedEx (NYSE:FDX), General Mills (NYSE:GIS), Manchester United (NYSE:MANU), and Oracle (NYSE:ORCL) are all slated to release results.

Becton Dickinson (NYSE:BDX): Piper Jaffray moves the medical instruments equity to Overweight from Neutral.

Colgate-Palmolive (NYSE:CL): The consumer products powerhouse is boosted to Overweight from Equal Weight by Barclays.

Con Edison (NYSE:ED): Goldman Sachs juices the New York electric utility name to Neutral from Sell.

HCA Holdings (NYSE:HCA): HCA is hoisted to Buy from Neutral at Mizuho, which also increases its price objective by $9 to $51 on account of potential benefits from health care reform.

Interpublic Group (NYSE:IPG): The advertising giant gets upgraded to Hold from Underperform at Jefferies.

Nokia Corporation (NYSE:NOK): Didn't we just do this, not once but twice? Another week, another upgrade for the surging Finnish telecom titan, today trading higher in Europe after getting taken to Outperform from Neutral at Credit Suisse.

Oil States International (NYSE:OIS): BMO Capital Markets increases the energy outfit to Market Perform from Underperform.

Tilly's Inc (NYSE:TLYS): The teen apparel outfit is now Overweight from Neutral at Piper Jaffray.

Vipshop (NYSE:VIPS): Deutsche Bank boosts the discount and variety store operator to Buy from Hold.

Weatherford International (NYSE:WFT): The oil services stock is upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform with Wells Fargo.

Whirlpool (NYSE:WHR): Shares are added to the US 1 List of favored equities at Bank of America-Merrill Lynch.

(See also: New Stock Coverage: Sprint Stuck in the Starting Blocks and Stock Downgrades: Procter & Gamble Is All Out of Luvs.)
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