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Stock Upgrades: Yahoo's Recovery Picks Up Pace

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

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On a day Disney (DIS) hit an all-time high, ahead of a winter blizzard, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was about right. Helped by the House of Mouse, Dow Industrials (^DJI) advanced 7.22 and, if this morning's upgrade of Yahoo (YHOO) is any indication, Marissa Mayer's Cinderella similarly looks set for a long run. The Post Office abandoned Saturday delivery for the first time since 1863, which won't impact many in our increasingly electronic age but might put one billionaire in a spot of bother. (Truth be told, Buffett has had better weeks.)

A downgrade of DreamWorks (DWA) sent the studio behind Flushed Away slumping 3.79% and President Obama picked a new Interior Secretary, the previous one having unwisely ordered a $222,000 toilet. Monopoly, its heart strings pulled by those cute cuddly kittens, unveiled a new cat piece. Zynga (ZNGA), however, proved there's life in the old dog yet, jumping 9.12%.

This afternoon in economics, December consumer credit data is due at 3:00 p.m. Eastern. On the earnings front, Activision Blizzard (ATVI), Cigna (CI), Credit Suisse (CS), Daimler (PINK:DDAIY), Hasbro (HAS), Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR), LinkedIn (LNKD), New York Times (NYT), Sony (SNE), and Sprint Nextel (S) are all expected to reveal results.

AXA SA (PINK:AXAHY): Citigroup boosts the insurance outfit to Buy from Neutral.

BlackBerry (BBRY): A second upgrade of the week for the company formerly known as Research in Motion, today raised to Outperform from Market Perform with Wells Fargo. Gross margins are expected to improve along with sales for the new BlackBerry 10 device.

Con-way (CNW): Citi raises the company to Buy from Neutral.

DeVry (DV): Shares in the education company are now Neutral from Underweight at JPMorgan.

Fortune Brands Home & Security (FBHS): KeyBanc hoists the stock to Buy from Hold at KeyBanc on account of its strong leverage, execution, and capital deployment. Its target is $38.

Life Time Fitness (LTM): LTM is lifted to Buy from Hold with a $50 price objective at Stifel Nicolaus, which says valuation has become increasingly compelling.

Molycorp (MCP): JPMorgan moves MCP to Neutral from Underweight.

Mueller Water (MWA): The equity is increased to Buy from Hold at BB&T Capital.

Tetra Technologies (TTI): TTI is taken to Buy from Neutral at Sterne Agee.

Time Warner (TWX): Shares, trading at fresh 52-week peaks, are now Outperform from Neutral with Wedbush, which also increases its price target by a hefty $16 to $60. Among the catalysts are expectations for higher margins in 2014 amid an increasing mix of TV studio and digital revenue.

True Religion Apparel (TRLG): BB&T Capital upgrades the stock to Buy from Hold.

ViaSat (VSAT): Impressed with the company's strong third quarter subscriber results, Needham raises its recommendation to Buy from Hold and establishes a $50 target price.

Yandex (YNDX): The Dutch Internet information provider is now Overweight from Neutral at HSBC Securities, which also increases its price objective to $31 from $24.

Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO): Shares, up 1.76% before the bell, get a Buy-from-Hold hoist at Pivotal Research.

(See also: New Stock Coverage: AOL Not Dialing Up Dollars and Stock Downgrades: Volvo No Longer Safe Place to Park Your Cash.)
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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