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Upgrades & Downgrades: Time to Pay Attention to Movado


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

The Three Stooges had the last word on Wall Street Wednesday and, while far from ideal, that's an improvement of sorts on the Four Horsemen who ran amok amid an apocalyptic session in equities twenty-four hours earlier. Dow Industrials (^DJI) bounced back from their worst day of 2012, snapping a five session skid as investors opted to place Europe on the back burner. The Fed's beige book surveying 12 US regions also offered hope, even if someone forgot to tell bibliophile Books-A-Million (BAMM), whose 5.12% skid read awfully like chapter 11. Alcoa (AA) paced all blue chips with a 6.22% earnings-related advance, our largest aluminum producer seeing a pickup in demand. And no wonder - on a day the budget deficit ballooned further still, we need a steady supply of fiscal cans to kick down the road. Over in Europe, glass bottles work just as well, which is why the world's biggest maker of such products, Owens-Illinois (OI), similarly surged 6.86%. Starbucks' (SBUX) frappuccino bottles make a mean Molotov cocktail, of course, and anticipating an increase in demand from austerity riots in Athens, Iberia, and Italy this summer, its stock jumped 4.43% to a new historic high.

Faring far less well was Finish telecom titan Nokia (NOK), which fell 15.51% to a 14 year low. 1987 wasn't the best year in equities but it did feature a memorable mobile phone. Forget about Gekko - I'm talking about Gorbachev, who used the company's cutting edge device to call his communications minister in Moscow. How the mighty have fallen. Bank of America (BAC) gained 3.75% after getting upgraded at Guggenheim. Benjamin Guggenheim drowned on the Titanic, heroically eschewing a life jacket and instead donning top hat and tails to meet his maker while many around him fruitlessly and frantically rearranged deck chairs. In an apt metaphor for our less elegant age, Hooker Furniture (HOFT) tumbles 10.93% after announcing earnings and the General Services Administration - whose job it is to furnish Uncle Sam's offices - screws taxpayers by spending $822,751 on mind-readers and clowns for its conferences in Vegas. Today's earnings announcements include Cherokee Inc. (CHKE), Fastenal (FAST), Google (GOOG), J.B. Hunt Transport Services (JBHT), Medtox Scientific (MTOX), Rite Aid (RAD), and Roche Holding (RHHBY.PK).


Netflix (NFLX): NFLX is a new Buy at Suntrust.

Internet stocks: SunTrust assigns new Neutrals on (AMZN), Yahoo (YHOO), Groupon (GRPN), and Pandora (P). It begins Buys on Google (GOOG) and LinkedIn (LNKD).

Electronic Arts (EA): Citing key game and industry sales concerns, Ascendiant Capital Markets initiates EA at a Neutral. Its price objective is $16.

American Superconductor (AMSC): Shares are begun with a Buy at Maxim Group, whose price target is $7. Wind power gross margin revenues are estimated at 40%.

America Movil (AMX): The Mexican telecom firm is a fresh Outperform at Macquarie.

BJ Restaurants (BJRI): Barclays begins Overweight research on BJRI.

Biotechs: UBS begins Buys on Ardea Biosciences (RDEA) ($31 target), ARIAD Pharmaceuticals (ARIA) ($20), and BioMarin Pharmaceutical (BMRN) ($43.) Achillion Pharmaceuticals (ACHN), Human Genome Sciences (HGSI), Ironwood Pharmaceuticals (IRWD), and InterMune (ITMN) are all new Neutrals.

Cubic Corp (CUB): Shares are an Outperform at Imperial Capital, whose objective is $52. They say current prices provide an attractive entry point in light of a leading market position.

Goodrich Petroleum (GDP): GDP gets picked up with a Buy at Deutsche Bank.

Mattress Firm (MFRM): Shares are a Hold at Stifel Nicolaus, which notes it is up a steep 132% since November's Initial Public Offering.

MercadoLibre (MELI): The stock is a new Neutral at Goldman Sachs.

ICU Medical (ICUI): Benchmark Company begins Buy rated research and sets a $60 target, as an aging population will drive an increase in the volume of medical and surgical related procedures.

Regional banks: FBR Capital resumes Outperform rated coverage on Cardinal Financial (CFNL) ($13 target price), Virginia Commerce Bancorp (VCBI) ($10), and State Bank Financial (STBZ) ($21.) Its Market Performs include Eagle Bancorp (EGBN), First Bancorp (FBNC), and Union First Market Bankshares (UBSH.)

Whiting Petroleum (WLL): WLL is a new Buy at Brean Murray.


AT&T Inc (T): The Dow member is up ahead of the open on an upgrade to Overweight from Neutral. Catalysts include improved revenue growth from tablets and price increase efforts. The target is $33, up from $31 previously.

Canadian Pacific (CP): Bank of America-Merrill Lynch lifts CP to Buy from Neutral.

Danone (DANOY.PK): Société Générale boosts the yogurt maker to Buy from Hold.

Infineon (IFNNY.PK): The tech firm is taken to Buy from Hold at Deutsche Bank.

Interpublic Group (IPG): The advertising giant gets upgraded to Overweight from Neutral at Atlantic Equities.

Liberty Property Trust (LRY): LRY is lifted to Outperform from Neutral at Cowen & Company.

Movado Group (MOV): The watchmaker is added to the Top Picks Live list at Citigroup.

Packaging Corp of America (PKG): JPMorgan moves the stock to Neutral from Underweight.

PetroChina (PTR): PTR is now Buy from Neutral at UBS.

Wesco (WCC): Shares are added to Citigroup's list of Top Picks Live.


Apollo Global Management (APO): Keefe Bruyette cuts the company to Market Perform from Outperform.

Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY): The stock, up 8.5% last week to a new all-time peak, is today downgraded to Hold from Buy with a $73 target at Canaccord Genuity. Concerns include a market share that is estimated to have declined in the fourth quarter for the first time this decade.

Nokia (NOK): The troubled tech firm is trading down again before the bell on a downgrade to Hold from Buy at Société Générale.

United Therapeutics (UTHR): Leerink Swann lowers its recommendation to Market Perform from Outperform.

EastGroup (EGP): EGP is now Neutral from Outperform at Cowen.

Weingarten Realty (WRI): The real estate outfit is reduced to Underperform from Neutral at Macquarie.
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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