Not only was he not fired - a distinct possibility some seven days ago - but Ben Bernanke emerged from Wall Street's worst week for five months with his reputation arguably enhanced. This after the $607 billion "fiscal cliff" were the words on everyone's post-election lips. You see, that unforgettable phrase was coined - and boy, our indebted country can currently use all the coins it can get - by the Fed head at a congressional hearing on February 29. (Leap Day being an especially opportune time to jump off the precipice.) Cliff Barnes, the erstwhile oilman of Dallas also had a fine time as crude ended at $86.07 a barrel, up 1.4% in five days. Mount Thor in Canada, plunging over 4,000 feet, is generally accepted as the largest purely vertical cliff drop on Earth, but Thor Industries (THO) scaled the peaks, advancing 8%. And AMC Networks (AMCX), home to Mad Men, bucked a brutal tape to add 4.5%. Yet after some $6 billion was spent on political ads to exactly zero effect, surely it's time to unceremoniously dump Don Draper. It's Veterans' Day, meaning banks and the bond market are both closed.
Noteworthy economic data is also conspicuous by its absence this morning, although quarterly earnings announcements are expected out of Ambow Education (AMBO), Beazer Homes (BZH), Cubic Corp (CUB), D.R. Horton (DHI), Einstein Noah Restaurant Group (BAGL), Hologic (HOLX), Inergy Midstream (NRGM), Jacobs Engineering Group (JEC), National Bank of Greece (NBG), Spanish Broadcasting System (SBSA), Weatherford International (WFT), and Zoom Technologies (ZOOM).
Arch Coal (ACI): ACI is increased to Market Perform by BMO Capital.
Catamaran (CTRX): Morgan Stanley movers the stock to Overweight from Equal Weight.
Comerica (CMA): The name is now Neutral from Sell at Citigroup.
Dril-Quip (DRQ): Shares get a Buy-from-Neutral boost at Global Hunter.
Hibbett Sports (HIBB): HIBB is hoisted to Buy from Neutral at Needham, which cites strong business trends and the prospect of positive earnings surprises.
Intercontinental Hotels (IHG): BNP Paribas boosts the accommodation outfit to Outperform from Neutral.
KLA-Tencor (KLAC): Shares are upgraded to Outperform from Underperform at RBC Capital.
Merck (MRK): The Dow (^DJI) member is moved to Outperform from Market Perform at BMO Capital Markets.
Nelnet (NNI): NNI is now Outperform from Market Perform at Credit Suisse.
Ryman Hospitality (RHP): Goldman Sachs raises its recommendation on RHP to Buy from Neutral.
SL Green Realty (SLG): Bank of America-Merrill Lynch boosts the stock to Buy from Neutral.
Taiwan Semiconductor (TSM): TSM is added to the Conviction Buy list at Goldman.
Telephone & Data (TDS): Shares are taken to Buy from Neutral at Citigroup.
US Cellular (USM): Citi moves the stock to Buy from Neutral.
TripAdvisor (TRIP): TRIP is taken to Overweight from Equal Weight with Morgan Stanley.
Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS) The Dow component, which fell sharply on Friday, is today taken to Buy from Hold at Citigroup.
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