Stock Upgrades: Tony Hayward, of BP Infamy, Gets His Life Back at Glencore Xstrata

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" Experts expect modest taper." "Fed likely to start tapering bond-buying program, experts say." "Fed to begin tapering, say experts ." And then the inevitable, "Expert views on Fed decision: 'This is a surprise .'" Moral of the story? There are no experts. Actually, maybe a single one does exist on all of Wall Street. A shout-out to Bank of America-Merrill Lynch ( BAC ), the only bulge-bracket brokerage to accurately bet that Ben Bernanke's bond buying binge wasn't yet at an end. In a fairer world, all other expensively-remunerated economists would now be looking for alternative employment after failing to predict a move that sent the Dow Average (INDEXDJX:.DJI) to another record. The famously lazy Maytag repairman can also count himself lucky to still be pulling in a paycheck. Not only that, his stock options surged yesterday after corporate parent Whirlpool ( WHR ) rose 4.74% to an historic high on an analyst upgrade . (At Merrill again, no less. Not a bad day for the firm.) Other stocks reaching all-time peaks included coffee king Starbucks ( SBUX ) and also, oddly enough, firearms firm Sturm Ruger ( RGR ). Brothers in arms , you may say.

Today in economics, we get a trio of reports at 10:00 a.m. Eastern, in the form of August leading indicators and existing-home sales, and the Philadelphia Fed Survey for September. On the corporate earnings front, ConAgra ( CAG ), Pier 1 Imports (PIR), Rite Aid (RAD), and Scholastic (SCHL) are all due to report results.

Crimson Exploration (CXPO): Shares get upgraded to Buy from Hold at MLV & Co.

Diageo plc (DEO): The alcohol maker is moved to Outperform from Perform by Sanford Bernstein.

Glencore Xstrata (OTCMKTS:GLNCY): The commodity company, temporarily headed by wayward Tony Hayward of BP Plc (BP) infamy , is up sharply in today's London trading after being taken to Outperform from Neutral by BNP Paribas.

Groupon (GRPN): Stifel hoists the daily deals site to Buy from Hold. The stock's target price is $16 amid increased optimism over its growth opportunities.

OraSure (OSUR): Raymond James raises its recommendation to Outperform from Market Perform.

Time Warner (TWX): TWX is taken to Overweight from Equal-Weight at Morgan Stanley.

Travelers (TRV): Saying the stock offers investors attractive relative value, FBR Capital increases its investment assessment on the Dow member to Outperform from Perform. Its price objective, previously $84, is now $94.

(See also: New Stock Coverage: Exciting New Chapter for Facebook and Stock Downgrades: Dr Pepper Not Worth Its Salt . )



The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc.



This article appears in: Investing , Stocks

Referenced Stocks: BAC , CAG , RGR , SBUX , WHR

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