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Stock Upgrades: UPS Can Deliver for Investors

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

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Little wonder that toy titan Mattel (MAT), up 1.86% to finish at a fresh 52-week peak, bucked a brutal day in equities. After all, yo-yos are suddenly all the rage on Wall Street. The Dow (^DJI) has now moved in triple-digit directions for three straight sessions, having slumped on Monday, surged on Tuesday, and slid on Wednesday. (Thursday morning looks up as we speak.)

As Britain buried an iconic grocer's daughter, English supermarket stock Tesco (PINK:TSCDY) tumbled 4.71% after announcing its first loss for 20 years. But its American equivalent Fairway (FWM) fared far better, jumping 33.46% to top the Nasdaq (^IXIC) on its first day of trading. Continuing our journey along the produce aisle, Lululemon (LULU) gained 1.87% on a broker boost although rotten Apple (AAPL) is now distinctly low-hanging fruit after falling 5.50%.

Former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl once famously said, "Margaret Thatcher always gave me headaches," but Maggie always gets the last word. Yesterday the Fatherland's own Aspirin maker Bayer (PINK: BAYRY) tumbled 5.77%.

Today in economics, April's Philadelphia Fed Index and March consumer confidence are each out at 10:00 a.m. Eastern. On the earnings front, African Barrick Gold (PINK:ABGLY), Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG), Google (GOOG), International Business Machines (IBM), Microsoft (MSFT), Morgan Stanley (MS), Nokia (NOK), PepsiCo (PEP), Philip Morris (PM), Union Pacific (UNP), United Healthcare (UNH), and Verizon (VZ) are all due to release results.

Acuity Brands (AYI): Shares are now Outperform from Market Perform at Northland Securities.

ASML Holding (ASML): The semiconductor stock, up sharply before the bell, is increased to Buy from Hold at Deutsche Bank.

Cabot Oil & Gas (COG): Bank of America-Merrill Lynch lifts the stock to Buy from Neutral.

Cathay General Bancorp (CATY): Shares are boosted to Outperform from Market Perform by BMO Capital.

Core Labs (CLB): The stock is upgraded to Hold from Trim at Tudor Pickering.

FMC Technologies (FTI): FTI gets taken to Outperform from Sector Perform at RBC Capital.

Fusion-io Inc. (FIO): Stifel increases its investment assessment to Buy from Hold.

HollyFrontier (HFC): Bank of America-Merrill hoists HFC to Buy from Neutral.

Lottomatica Group (PINK:LTTOY): The Italian gaming firm gets upgraded to Outperform from Neutral by BNP Paribas.

Northeast Utilities (NU): NU is now Buy from Neutral at UBS.

Spectra Energy (SE): Shares are upgraded to Overweight from Neutral at Atlantic Equities.

State Auto Financial (STFC): The stock gets moved to Market Perform from Underperform by Keefe Bruyette.

Textron (TXT): The firm, whose stock tumbled 13.42% yesterday, is today taken to Overweight from Neutral at JPMorgan.

United Parcel Service (NYSE:UPS): RBC Capital, which this morning cut competitor FedEx (FDX), raises its package delivery rival to Outperform from Sector Perform. Shares touched a fresh 52-week peak earlier in April.

WNS (Holdings) Limited (WNS): The Bombay-based outsourcing outfit is upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at William Blair.

(See also: New Stock Coverage: Travelers on Road to Riches and Stock Downgrades: Krispy Kreme Disappears Down Doughnut Hole.)
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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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