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Upgrades & Downgrades: Cinderella Story For Disney


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


Mitch Albom tends to spend Tuesdays With Morrie, but had he instead opted to pass the day in the company of Mr. Market, one can only hope the best selling writer would not have reprised his infamous error of a few years ago by adjudicating a trifle prematurely. With but an hour's trading to go all talk was of bloodbaths and bear markets, only for the angst to evaporate in the final 50 minutes as equities actually ended impressively up. By the time Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts rang the closing bell -- the clothing company an exquisitely appropriate choice on such a checkered day -- S&P 500 shares had swung to a 2.3% increase after an earlier 2.2% tumble. A salmon colored newspaper was responsible for stocks finishing in the pink, the Financial Times suggesting Europe is about to take aggressive action on its economic afflictions. Not everyone joined in the fun -- tobacco titan Lorillard (LO) ended up in smoke after getting downgraded by Goldman Sachs. (A penny for the thoughts of the Alabama outfit that puts ashes into ammunition.)

Still, some shares managed to thrive even when the overall market was imploding earlier. La-Z-Boy (LZB) jumped 13.17% to a new high; a report that drunk driving is on the decline came out hours before this impressive performance and thus may soon need to be reassessed. And the starving artists currently occupying Wall Street hopefully invested in A.C. Moore Arts And Crafts (ACMR), whose 60% increase topped the Nasdaq. Alas Oscar winner and occasional occupier Susan Sarandon, on her 65th birthday, would have lost money in any auction of her Academy Award, gold snapping a three-day winning streak to dip below $1,600. Today in economics, a slight slippage is seen in September's Institute for Supply Management Index at 10:00AM Eastern. On the earnings front Acuity Brands (AYI), Christopher & Banks (CBK), Costco (COST), Marriott International (MAR), Monsanto (MON), National American University Holdings (NAUH), RPM International (RPM), and Ruby Tuesday (RT) are all due to report results.


Hewlett-Packard (HPQ): The Dow member is resumed with an Underweight at JP Morgan.

Verizon (VZ): VZ, also in the Dow, is rated a new Equal-Weight with Evercore Partners.

Gap (GPS): The clothing company gets initiated with an Outperform at Credit Agricole.

Netflix (NFLX): NFLX is a new Neutral at Sterne Agee, which says that "The crux of our thesis is that current valuation mostly reflects near-term risks." Also read What's Next for Netflix Besides a Bounce?

LinkedIn (LNKD): Jefferies launches Hold rated coverage and an $81 price objective on LNKD.

Tech Stocks: Jefferies begins VMware (VMW) with a Buy and $100 target price, and assigns a Hold and $62 target on Citrix Systems (CTXS). (CRM): CRM is a new Neutral at Ticonderoga, which says impressive top-line growth is somewhat offset by accelerating expenses.

Allergan (AGN): The Botox maker is a new Market Perform at JMP Securities.

Thermo Fisher (TMO): TMO is initiated with an Outperform and $63 objective at Oppenheimer, which notes their diverse global array of customers.

Clean Harbors (CLH): CLH is resumed with a Neutral at Goldman Sachs.

Genomic Health (GHDX): The shares are initiated with a Perform at Oppenheimer.

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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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