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Stock Upgrades: Barclays Tops the Premier League

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

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The English soccer season, which began way back in August, appropriately ends its nine-month slog on Mother's Day. That's when the Barclays (NYSE:BCSPremier League will officially be won and lost. (Much as it breaks my heart as a lifelong Liverpool fan, it now looks like the latter for my side by the most infinitesimal of margins.) Yesterday, shareholders in the British bank certainly got their kicks, with its stock surging some 7.39% after the announcement of a restructuring initiative and attendant wave of layoffs.
 
Elsewhere, equities staggered to a split decision, with corporate America's most recent man of the hour being left in the dust by a stock fit for the next hundred years. Elon Musk -- who was the other guest on a 60 Minutes episode that was apparently all about Michael Lewis-- saw his Tesla Motors (NASDAQ:TSLA) implode 11.30%. This, even as Twenty-First Century Fox (NASDAQ:FOXA) jumped 6.54% after issuing impressive earnings. Forty-eight hours before the biggest day of the year for florists, "A rose by any other name would smell as sweet." Keurig Green Mountain (NASDAQ:GMCR), which just changed its moniker, jumped 12.99%, and Mondelēz International (NASDAQ:MDLZ) -- which surely should do the same -- scored a broker boost 24 hours after advancing 8.18%. Career Education Corp. (NASDAQ:CECO), owner of culinary schools, cratered 26.27%. After such a horror show, the only thing that could get Mr. Market cooking again would be a movie called Chef, taking place in a food truck and starring Sofia Vergara and Scarlett Johansson. Yeah, right. Like that'll ever happen.
 
Today's quarterly earnings announcements include Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE:ALU), Echostar (NASDAQ:SATS), Ralph Lauren (NYSE:RL), and Telefónica (NYSE:TEF).
 
Now let's analyze this morning's upgrades, a group that encompasses not only our aforementioned Barclays but also a suddenly back-in-favor social networking stock.

Barclays: Today's headline stock is taken to Add from Hold at Numis.
 
Covanta (NYSE:CVA): Barclays itself boosts this waste management name to Overweight from Equal Weight.
 
DISH Network (NASDAQ:DISH): Shares get moved to Market Perform from Underperform at Raymond James.
 
FLY Leasing (NYSE:FLY): The stock is upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform with Wells Fargo.
 
Louisiana-Pacific (NYSE:LPX): Longbow lifts LPX to Buy from Neutral.
 
Orange (NYSE:ORAN): Not the first upgrade of late for this French telecom firm, now Neutral from Sell at UBS.
 
Tower Group (NASDAQ:TWGP): Keefe Bruyette raises its rating to Perform from Underperform.
 
Twitter (NYSE:TWTR): A second analyst increase in as many days for Twitter, today taken to Neutral from Underperform by Bank of America Merrill Lynch. Shares are, accordingly, currently trading up in what's an otherwise soft pre-market tape overall.
 
Vitamin Shoppe (NYSE:VSI): The company can afford to buy a vowel after getting upgraded to Overweight from Equal Weight by Barclays. Its price objective also increases, to $51 from $49.

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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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