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Stock Upgrades: 3M Is in the Money, Money, Money

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

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MINYANVILLE ORIGINAL Dow (^DJI) member McDonald's (MCD) fell 1.99% after announcing its first decline in monthly sales since the spring of 2003. Ah, that innocent age when our biggest beef with Europe centered on freedom fries. This election week, no one was asking "where's the beef?" with Wendy's (WEN), with the coiner of that iconic phrase bucking a brutal tape to gain 3.05%.

On what would have been the 112th birthday of Margaret Mitchell, Windstream (WIN) was Gone With The Wind, nose-diving 9.66% to a new multi-year low. Energy drink maker Monster Beverage (MNST) is in an identical position after dropping another 1.27%. Its products are apparently causing the army sleepless nights, and military academy owner American Public Education (APEI) will do the same to any soldiers unfortunate enough to own the stock after it imploded 8.58%.

Today in economics, September wholesale trade is expected to tick up 0.4% at 10:00 a.m. Eastern. In earnings activity, Apollo Global Management (APO), Covidien (COV), Crédit Agricole (CRARY), and J.C. Penney (JCP) are all due to release results.

Alliant Techsystems (ATK): The world's largest ammunition outfit is upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Goldman Sachs.

Bank of the Ozarks (OZRK): Shares are now Buy from Neutral at Sterne Agee.

Concho Resources (CXO): CXO gets upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Goldman.

Eagle Materials (EXP): The stock is added to Goldman's Conviction Buy List.

Fastenal (FAST): Shares are upgraded to Outperform from Neutral at Robert W. Baird, which also takes its target price up by $1, to $51. They say there is outperformance potential over the next 1-2 years based on their mid-cycle slowdown thesis.

FleetCor (FLT): FLT is boosted to Buy from Hold at Citigroup.

Health Care Plan Providers: Health Net (HNT) and Molina Healthcare (MOH) are each upgraded to Hold at Jefferies.

HollyFrontier (HFC): HFC is hoisted to Overweight from Equal Weight by Barclays.

Isis Pharmaceuticals (ISIS): Shares are upgraded to Outperform from Perform at Cowen & Co.

3M Co. (NYSE:MMM): The Dow (^DJI) stock is upgraded to Neutral from Reduce at Nomura amid increased confidence in management's prioritization strategy. The price objective is now $96.

Marathon Oil (MRO): MRO is moved to Overweight from Neutral at JPMorgan, whose new target is $35

Pozen (POZN): Shares are up 5.3% before the bell on an upgrade to Strong Buy from Buy at Ascendiant Capital Markets.

Public Service Enterprise (PEG): Citing improved power markets, ING Group gives the stock a Hold-from-Sell hoist.

Ryland Group (RYL): RYL gets raised to Buy from Hold at KeyBanc.

Signet Jewelers (SIG): SIG is now Buy from Neutral at Bank of America-Merrill Lynch.

Société Générale (SCGLY): The stock is upgraded to Buy from Reduce at Nomura.

Starbucks (SBUX): Shares are upgraded to Buy from Hold at Argus, which cites strong Q4 results and guidance. Its target is $60.

Triangle Capital (TCAP): TCAP gets taken to Outperform from Neutral at Robert W. Baird.

(See also Stock Downgrades: Groupon Offers Up Another Daily Disaster and New Stock Coverage: Forest Labs Looks Like a Money Tree.)
No positions in stocks mentioned.
The information on this website solely reflects the analysis of or opinion about the performance of securities and financial markets by the writers whose articles appear on the site. The views expressed by the writers are not necessarily the views of Minyanville Media, Inc. or members of its management. Nothing contained on the website is intended to constitute a recommendation or advice addressed to an individual investor or category of investors to purchase, sell or hold any security, or to take any action with respect to the prospective movement of the securities markets or to solicit the purchase or sale of any security. Any investment decisions must be made by the reader either individually or in consultation with his or her investment professional. Minyanville writers and staff may trade or hold positions in securities that are discussed in articles appearing on the website. Writers of articles are required to disclose whether they have a position in any stock or fund discussed in an article, but are not permitted to disclose the size or direction of the position. Nothing on this website is intended to solicit business of any kind for a writer's business or fund. Minyanville management and staff as well as contributing writers will not respond to emails or other communications requesting investment advice.

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