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Stock Upgrades: Harley Living High on the Hog


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

MINYANVILLE ORIGINAL Dean Foods (DF), America's top dairy producer, gained 12.77% to top the S&P 500 Index (^GSPC) by a mile. If that's not enough to make Justin Bieber sick, then the 7.47% implosion in his teeth-straightening sponsor Align Technology (ALGN) ought to do the trick. Homebuilder PulteGroup (PHM) gained 5.31% to a fresh 52-week peak amid fresh signs of life in the real estate market; David Crowe, chief economist at the National Association of Home Builders, is fully entitled to crow. Bank of America (BAC), bedeviled by large litigation costs at its Merrill Lynch unit, fell after announcing earnings but Alcoa (AA), whose Stan O'Neal almost brought Mother Merrill to bankruptcy, enjoyed a 2.68% advance to best all blue chips. Alas, in Stan Laurel's immortal catchphrase, it was "another fine mess" for Stanley Black & Decker (SWK), downgraded today after yesterday's fall of 4.42%, and Stanley Furniture (STLY), which nosedived 9.24%. This morning in economics, September Leading Indicators and October's Philadelphia Fed Index are each expected to show improvement at 10:00 a.m. Eastern.

It's another frenetic day for third quarter earnings, with Google (GOOG), Microsoft (MSFT), Nokia (NOK), Travelers (TRV), and Verizon (VZ) among a battery of big names due to report results.

American Eagle Outfitters (AEO): Shares are increased to Outperform from Market Perform with Wells Fargo, which thinks new management will accelerate sales growth.

ConocoPhillips (COP): The stock is now Neutral from Sell at Goldman Sachs, whose target is $55.

Duke Energy (DUK): Amid an attractive valuation, Citigroup raises its rating to Buy from Neutral and also takes its target up by $3 to $72.

Harley-Davidson (NYSE:HOG): The motorcycle maker gets moved to Buy from Neutral at Goldman, which is encouraged by a re acceleration in registrations. The price objective is $54.

Lindsay Corp. (LNN): LNN is lifted to Outperform from Market Perform by William Blair.

SeaDrill (SDRL): Shares are taken to Buy from Neutral at Goldman.

ThyssenKrupp (TYEKF): The German firm is seeing its shares trade higher in Europe this morning on a Neutral-from-Underperform boost at BNP Paribas.

Tibco Software (TIBX): TIBX shares are taken to Outperform from Neutral at Macquarie amid high hopes for long-term secular growth. The target is $33.

US Bancorp (USB): Susquehanna boosts USB to Positive from Neutral.

(See also: Stock Downgrades: St. Jude Medical Needs a Miracle and New Stock Coverage: Monro Muffler Can't Catch a Break.)
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