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Stock Upgrades: Fossil's Time Is Now


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

MINYANVILLE ORIGINAL Goldman Sachs (GS), which just wrapped up a ruthless Muppet hunt, remained on the warpath. Its downgrade of Sesame Street toy-maker Hasbro (HAS) saw that stock fall 3.94%. (Grover, everyone's favorite Muppet, somehow appears to have survived the bloodletting intact.) Hasbro makes Scrabble, of course, and Clearwire (CLWR) can finally afford to buy the vowel it needs after surging 15.95%.

Two American economists won the Nobel Prize for matchmaking, and China's online dating site (DATE) jumped 3.94%. Anyone who can figure out how a nation with untold millions more boys than girls can avoid future societal acrimony deserves the real prize.

It's a torrid Tuesday in earnings season, with such key companies as Coca-Cola (KO), Goldman Sachs, Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), Intel (INTC),International Business Machines (IBM), and UnitedHealth (UNH) all due to report results.

Alliance Data Systems (ADS): Highlighting its above average earnings growth visibility, Wells Fargo hoists ADS to Outperform from Market Perform.

Citigroup (C): Yesterday's top S&P 500 (^GSPC) stock is moved to Strong Buy from Outperform at Raymond James. Favorable fundamentals and balance sheet improvement are both considered catalysts. The target is also taken up to $44 from $35.

Denbury Resources (DNR): The equity is raised to Positive from Neutral at Susquehanna.

Fossil Inc (NASDAQ:FOSL) The watchmaker gets a Buy-from-Neutral boost at Citigroup, whose price objective is $100. Catalysts include an attractive valuation and the potential for earnings upside.

Helmerich & Payne (HP): HP gets increased to Outperform from Sector Perform at RBC Capital based on contract visibility.

Kroger (KR): Jefferies juices its recommendation to Buy from Hold amid accelerating market share gains. The target price is also taken up by $5, to $30. Shares are up before the bell as a result.

LG Display (LPL): LPL gets lifted to Outperform from Sell at Crédit Agricole.

Lorillard (LO): Shares are upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at Wells Fargo, which cites a favorable risk/reward profile.

Medicines Co. (MDCO): MDCO is moved to Buy from Hold at Jefferies.

Mueller Water (MWA): MWA is moved to Outperform from Sector Perform at RBC Capital due to expectations for increased wastewater infrastructure spending.

Sprint (S): Shares, downgraded elsewhere today, are also taken to Market Perform from Underperform by Sanford Bernstein, which says the Softbank (SFTBY) deal makes "bankruptcy risk…de minimis."

Strategic Hotels & Resorts (BEE): The REIT is raised to Overweight from Neutral at JPMorgan, which highlights asset sales and an improved balance sheet among other favorable factors.

Tower Group (TWGP): The stock is placed on the Top Picks List at FBR Capital, whose target is $24.

(See also: Stock Downgrades: Sprint About to Stall? and New Stock Coverage: Stick With Glu Mobile.)
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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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