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Stock Upgrades: Symantec Stops the Bleeding

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

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Stocks partied like it was 1999 as First Solar (NASDAQ:FSLR), founded that fabulous year, surged 36% to lead another impressive showing for the S&P 500 Index (INDEXSP:.INX). Clearly A-ha was half right when informing us, way back when we were still fighting the Cold War, that "The Sun Always Shines On TV." (Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Gray Television (NYSE:GTN) would dispute the bit about the box.) Sears (NASDAQ:SHLD), much like those Scandinavian singers, were big back in the '80s before enduring a catalog of woes, but its 8.93% advance last week hints at a return to former glories. Timbuk 3 told us that "The Future's So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades" in a song from 1986. That same year disaster struck the Ukrainian city of Chernobyl, so the opening lyrics -- "I study nuclear science/I love my classes/I got a crazy teacher, he wears dark glasses" -- make especially ironic reading. Here's looking at you, President Putin, the seriously shady character who evidently inspired Pacific Sunwear of California (NASDAQ:PSUN), an Anaheim outfitter of sunglasses for surfer dudes, to an 8.51% increase. As a child of the Reagan era, I would love to complete a trifecta of tunes from that decade by saying we are all set for a Manic Monday but, alas, no. (And definitely don't go shopping for your bangles at Tiffany (NYSE:TIF) today, as Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) just cut the jeweler.)
 
Indeed it is actually a deadly dull start to the week, utterly bereft of any top-tier domestic economic data or earnings announcements. Overseas, China Petroleum & Chemical (NYSE:SNP) did release its results overnight.
 
Axiall (NYSE:AXLL): Bank of America-Merrill Lynch lifts the building products name to Buy from Neutral.
 
Banco Bradesco (NYSE:BBD): BBD gets an Outperform-from-Neutral boost at Credit Suisse.

Bank Stocks: Atlantic Equities gives Neutral-from-Underweight upgrades to both US Bancorp (NYSE:USB) -- target price taken to $44 from $39 -- and Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC), which finished Friday at the highest level in its history.
 
Boston Scientific (NYSE:BSX): The medical device maker is moved to Outperform from Market Perform by Sanford Bernstein, sending shares up 1.40% as we speak.
 
EverBank Financial (NYSE:EVER): Sterne Agee increases EVER to Buy from Neutral.
 
Lloyds (NYSE:LYG): The British bank is bucking a broadly lower London tape today, up impressively on the back of a Buy-from-Hold hoist at Investec.
 
Ross Stores (NASDAQ:ROST): RBC Capital raises ROST to Outperform from Perform and also increases its price objective by $2 to $81. The broker expresses optimism over an off-price business model.
 
STAAR Surgical (NASDAQ:STAA): Shares get upgraded to Outperform from Perform by William Blair.
 
Stratasys (NASDAQ:SSYS): The 3D printing name is up 3.80% this morning after being moved to Overweight from Neutral at JPMorgan.
 
Symantec (NASDAQ:SYMC): Shares, which tumbled 12.94% on Friday amid a ratings reduction and CEO firing, are today taken to Outperform from Market Perform with a $22 target price by BMO Capital Markets. The bank cites a plethora of strategic options available to the ailing outfit.
 
United Continental (NYSE:UAL): Raymond James juices its recommendation on the airline to Outperform from Market Perform.
 
VMware (NYSE:VMW): The tech name is now Buy from Neutral at Sterne Agee.
 
Yanzhou Coal Mining (NYSE:YZC): JPMorgan moves the Chinese commodity company to Overweight from Neutral.
 
Yelp, Inc. (NYSE:YELP): Shares get an Outperform-from-Perform upgrade at JMP Securities, which cites margin growth and robust revenue prospects.

Also see:

New Stock Coverage: Descartes Systems Can Afford to Be Philosophical
 
Stock Downgrades: Bank of America No Longer Such a Steal
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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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