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Stock Upgrades: Travelers on Road to Riches

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

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MINYANVILLE ORIGINAL The S&P 500 (^GSPC) fell 0.32%, snapping a three-week win streak, as Obama and Boehner met for "frank" fiscal cliff talks. (Music to the ears of hot dog maker Nathan's Famous (NATH), which duly hit the highest level in its history.)

Across the Atlantic, EU finance ministers agreed to create a single banking supervisor, as if Europe's problem is too little integration. Eighteen people perished trying to get into Greece in search of a better life. Continental car sales nosedived to a 19-year low so naturally enough, Europe's top stock was…PSA Peugeot Citroën (PINK:PEUGY), which soared 16%.

Earnings announcements expected today include Diamond Foods (DMND), SHFL Entertainment (SHFL), and Stewart Enterprises (STEI).

Airlines: Dahlman Rose gives Buy-from-Hold boosts to Delta (DAL) ($19 price objective), United Continental (UAL) ($29), and US Airways (LCC) ($21.) JetBlue (JBLU) gets hoisted to Hold from Sell.

Alcatel-Lucent (ALU): Shares are boosted to Buy from Neutral at Natixis Bleichroeder.

Brown & Brown (BRO): The stock is taken to Sector Perform from Underperform at RBC Capital amid improving organic growth.

Informatica (INFA): Piper Jaffray juices its recommendation to Overweight from Neutral.

Lifepoint Hospitals (LPNT): Saying the data suggests volumes are stabilizing, WallachBeth lifts LPNT to Buy from Hold and takes its target up to $42 from $41.

Pebblebrook Hotel Trust (PEB): Shares are upgraded to Outperform from Neutral at Robert W. Baird.

SAP AG (SAP): The German enterprise software giant gets a Market Perform-from-Underperform increase at JMP Securities, whose channel checks indicate increased sales activity.

Simon Property Group (SPG): Shares are now Buy from Neutral at Citigroup.

Tenet Healthcare (THC): THC is taken to Buy from Hold at Deutsche Bank.

Travelers (NYSE:TRV): RBC Capital moves the Dow (^DJI) member to Top Pick from Outperform, impressed by margin growth optimism and expectations for additional rate increases in 2013. The target is raised to $87 from $85.

Unilever (UN): The owner of brands including Axe, Dove, Vaseline, and Lipton, whose shares stand atop an all-time high today, is now Neutral from Underperform at Credit Suisse.

(See also: New Stock Coverage: Milk Dean Foods for All It's Worth and Stock Downgrades: Apple Falls Further From Money Tree.)
No positions in stocks mentioned.
The information on this website solely reflects the analysis of or opinion about the performance of securities and financial markets by the writers whose articles appear on the site. The views expressed by the writers are not necessarily the views of Minyanville Media, Inc. or members of its management. Nothing contained on the website is intended to constitute a recommendation or advice addressed to an individual investor or category of investors to purchase, sell or hold any security, or to take any action with respect to the prospective movement of the securities markets or to solicit the purchase or sale of any security. Any investment decisions must be made by the reader either individually or in consultation with his or her investment professional. Minyanville writers and staff may trade or hold positions in securities that are discussed in articles appearing on the website. Writers of articles are required to disclose whether they have a position in any stock or fund discussed in an article, but are not permitted to disclose the size or direction of the position. Nothing on this website is intended to solicit business of any kind for a writer's business or fund. Minyanville management and staff as well as contributing writers will not respond to emails or other communications requesting investment advice.

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