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Stock Upgrades: Urban Outfitters, Inc. Moves Uptown


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

Just in time for America's first-ever running of the bulls, the bear shows ominous signs of ending his extended hibernation. After fully 158 trading days, Dow Industrials (^DJI) finally suffered their first four-session slump of 2013, having hitherto had its best-ever year by that metric since 1954. (Had that Eisenhower-era time traveler been transported to the present day, he would scarcely have believed this week's headlines, what with Detroit marking another bankruptcy milestone yesterday and Eastman Kodak (EKDKQ) in chapter 11 court this morning.)

As investors disowned equities, Caroline Kennedy demonstrated the importance of choosing your parents carefully, but JPMorgan (JPM) led blue chip laggards with a 2.74% tumble on accusations that it hired the children of influential Chinese officials. Alas, even a broker boost was powerless to prevent a 1.75% nose-dive in News Corp. (NWSA), which knows all about nepotism. Elsewhere Tesla Motors (TSLA), up another 2.04%, had investors at "hello," but shareholders bid buh-bye to Jaguar owner Tata Motors (TTM), which slumped 6.85% and took Dick Van Dyke along for the ride. And Egypt continues to be nothing but trouble for anything Apache (APA), either the unloved energy outfit - which fell a further 4.58% - or the attack helicopter of the same name.

No top-tier economic data due today, but corporate earnings are expected out of Analog Devices (ADI), Barnes & Noble (BKS), Best Buy (BBY), BHP Billiton (BHP), Dick's Sporting Goods (DKS), Glencore Xstrata (GLNCY), Home Depot (HD), Intuit (INTU), JC Penney (JCP), La-Z-Boy (LZB), Medtronic (MDT), and TJX Companies (TJX).

ANN Inc. (ANN): Janney takes the clothing company formerly known as AnnTaylor to Buy from Neutral. The bank hails an improvement in the LOFT brand, allied to overall market-share increases.

BAE Systems (BAESY): The stock is boosted to Add from Hold at Investec.

Calpine (CPN): Tudor Pickering takes the electric utility to Buy from Hold.

Cash America (CSH): Shares are now Buy from Neutral at Janney.

Diana Shipping (DSX): Credit Suisse takes the tanker name to Neutral from Underperform.

Fast Food: Jefferies hoists Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG) to Hold from Underperform and raises Red Robin Gourmet Burgers (RRGB) to Buy from Hold.

Ladbrokes (LDBKY): The British bookmaker is up almost 4% in today's London trading after getting a Buy-from-Hold lift at Deutsche Bank, which highlights strong cash generation and Internet opportunities among other favorable factors.

Nielsen (NLSN): The provider of TV ratings gets upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform by Sanford Bernstein, sending it up about 1.8% as I write.

Spirit Airlines (SAVE): Raymond James juices its recommendation on the aviation outfit to Outperform from Market Perform.

Statoil (STO): The Norwegian energy giant is now Buy from Hold at SEB Equity.

Urban Outfitters, Inc. (URBN): The retailer, surging about 7% ahead of the open after announcing earnings, is increased to Outperform from Neutral with Wedbush.

(See also: Stock Downgrades: No Dough at Panera Bread Co and New Stock Coverage: Facebook Inc Finally Making Its Mark.)
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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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