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Upgrades & Downgrades: Good Credit at MasterCard


Maybe the experts know something we don't know.

An uptick in merger activity saw stocks snap a three day skid to post their biggest gains since the end of August, albeit on anemic volume. Investors enjoyed the view atop both Gander Mountain Company (GMTN) (+33.51%) and Green Mountain Coffee (GMCR) (+6.34) as Obama announced a trip to move Mount Olympus closer to Chicago. Holders of Cal-Maine Foods (CALM) successfully appealed for calm after an 8% pre-market plunge on earnings. Shares in the supplier of eggs recovered sharply though still ended in the red -- a cautionary reminder never to put them all in one basket, even if they're chocolate.

The singer who implored Americans to "Get a Job" passed away within hours of The Conference Board announcing online employment openings slipped again in September. The same organization is out with monthly consumer confidence this morning at 10:00 AM Eastern on a hectic day which also includes Case-Shiller housing data and quarterly results from Nike (NKE), Walgreen (WAG), Darden Restaurants (DRE) and Micron Technology (MU).


Beverage Stocks: Citigroup assumes coverage of Coca-Cola (KO) and Dr Pepper Snapple (DPS) with Buys on both. We recently covered Coca-Cola in The World's Best Brands.

Diedrich Coffee (DDRX): This stock could also perk up after being initiated at Buy ($35 price target) by Roth, as the broker believes single-cup brewers have clear appeal.

MasterCard (MA): MasterCard is picked up with a Positive at Susquehanna Financial.


ConocoPhillips (COP): The oil giant is upgraded to Buy from Hold at Collins Stewart, the broker establishing an objective of $60.

Broadcom (BRCM): Broad smiles at Broadcom after an Overweight from Equal-weight upgrade by Barclays, which takes its target to $35 from $30.

Polo Ralph Lauren (RL): Goldman Sachs dresses up Polo Ralph Lauren in a Buy (from Neutral).

Phillips-Van Heusen (PVH): The apparel company gets a snappy new look too, boosted by Bank of America/Merrill Lynch to Buy from Neutral.

Athenahealth (ATHN): The stock is increased to Outperform from Neutral by Robert Baird, which raises the price objective to $46 from $37 on its increased conviction in the company's long-term growth prospects.

Lamar Advertising (LAMR): Barclays Capital boosts both rating (Overweight from Equal-Weight) and target price ($35 from $22) on Lamar Advertising, citing cost containment and undervaluation.

Financials: A fun day for financials, with several upgrades including Astoria Financial (AF) (Overweight from Equal-Weight at Barclays), Jefferies Group (JEF) (Market Perform from Underperform at JMP Securities) and Huntington Bancshares (HBAN) (Outperform from Market Perform) by FBR Capital (FBCM).


AstraZeneca (AZN): The pharmaceutical company is cut to Sell from Hold at Collins Stewart.

Western Refining (WNR): Soleil Securities lowers Western Refining to Hold from Buy with an objective of $8.

Portland General Electric (POR): Goldman's downgrade of regulated utilities sees Portland General Electric taken to Neutral from Buy.

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