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Stock Upgrades: TripAdvisor Stock Heading North


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

MINYANVILLE ORIGINAL Stocks advanced for a third straight week even as Challenger Grey and Christmas reported a 34.4% surge in planned layoffs, a trend that even Father Christmas doesn't appear to be immune from, alas. Investors were gratefully accepting lumps of coal from Santa, however, after fossil fuel powerhouse Alpha Natural Resources (ANR) jumped 20%.

A property on 666 Park Avenue sold for a billion bucks and, in another real estate-related sign of an approaching Mayan Apocalypse, the head of Goldman Sachs (GS) bought himself a $32.5 million home in the Hamptons. Housing stocks - on a tear of late - subsequently cooled off on cue.

On Friday Milan's fabled La Scala opera season opened with the lead soprano and her understudy both suddenly stricken by flu. That's nothing compared to Italy's ongoing political soap opera, which 24 hours later saw Mario Monti step down amid renewed opposition from Silvio Berlusconi, a septuagenarian recently convicted of fraud. On the bright side, Caesars Entertainment (CZR) shot up 20.0%.

No top-tier economic data due today, but earnings announcements are expected out of ABM Industries (ABM), Cubic Corporation (CUB), Enzo Biochem (ENZ), John Wiley & Sons (JW-A), Landauer Inc. (LDR), Scholastic (SCHL), Teavana (TEA), and Winnebago Industries (WGO).

Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF): ANF gets upgraded to Outperform from Neutral at Robert W. Baird, which also increases its price objective by $7 to $55. Q3 results show return to growth in the US chain-store business.

Anadarko Petroleum (APC): Citing the company's value-added growth, portfolio optimization, and strong recent operational momentum, Baird boosts the oil outfit to Outperform from Neutral and takes its target up to $105 from $103.

Athenahealth (ATHN): Shares are now Neutral from Underperform at Sterne Agee.

Carlisle Cos. (CSL): CSL is boosted to Buy from Hold at KeyBanc.

Cincinnati Financial (CINF): The stock is now Neutral from Underperform at Macquarie, which cites an improved outlook and reduced dividend risk.

Comtech (CMTL): JPMorgan moves the stock to Overweight from Neutral.

Emulex (ELX): ELX is lifted to Overweight from Equal Weight at Stephens, whose target is $9.

Forest Laboratories (FRX): FRX is upgraded to Outperform from Neutral at Cowen , which says it will be able to resolve its Bystolic litigation with all generic challengers.

Isle of Capri Casinos (ISLE): The name is now Neutral from Underperform at Credit Suisse.

Mediaset (PINK:MDIUY) Deutsche Bank moves the broadcasting firm founded by Silvio Berlusconi, which rose 7.3% last week, to Buy from Hold.

Mobile Mini (MINI): MINI gets moved to Buy from Hold at KeyBanc Capital.

Noble Energy (NBL): The stock, cut elsewhere today, is now Outperform from Neutral at Robert W. Baird.

Robert Half International (RHI): RHI is raised to Buy from Hold at Deutsche Bank.

Smith & Nephew (SNN): Shares are boosted to Buy from Hold at Investec.

Swift Transportation (SWFT): The stock is hoisted to Buy from Hold at Dahlman Rose.

TripAdvisor (NASDAQ:TRIP) TRIP is taken to Buy from Hold at Deutsche Bank.

Webster Financial (WBS): Shares are upgraded to Buy from Hold at Deutsche Bank.

(See also: Stock Downgrades: US Steel More Clark Kent Than Superman and New Stock Coverage: Best Buy a Tough Sell.)
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