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Stock Upgrades: Dollar Tree Looks to End Its Nightmare on Elm Street


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

One of the most iconic photos of JFK was of him and Jackie at a ticker tape parade in lower Manhattan, quite literally looking up at Wall Street. Five decades since that dreadful day in Dallas, from his celestial perch the 35th President can look down on an address that stands taller than ever. The Dow (INDEXDJX:.DJI) finished above 16,000 for the first time and S&P 500 Index (INDEXSP:.INX) shares snapped a three-session losing streak in similarly impressive style, as US stock markets continued their inexorable ascent. (The news wasn't quite so bright across the ocean, where a new report emphasized the "risk of a return to recession for France," according to Jack Kennedy. Jack Kennedy the economist, not Jack Kennedy the man who memorably told de Gaulle he would forever be known as "the man who accompanied Jacqueline Kennedy to Paris.") Among stocks on the move, Rite Aid (NYSE:RAD), already up 400% in a year, rose another 3.53% on a broker boost. It was founded in 1962, the beehive heyday of Hairspray, and America's last year of innocence. GameStop (NYSE:GME), based in the Dallas suburb of Grapevine, slumped 6.94% to post the S&P 500′s poorest performance. What tragic news came through the Texas grapevine five decades ago today on Elm Street, when JFK passed away and Lyndon Johnson took control. Eerily, Johnson Controls (NYSE:JCI) gained 4.42% yesterday to hit the highest level in its history.

There isn't any top-tier economic data due to move US markets today but, regarding specific stocks, Ann Inc. (NYSE:ANN), Destination XL Group (NASDAQ:DXLG), Foot Locker (NYSE:FL), PetSmart (NASDAQ:PETM), Sirona Dental Systems (NASDAQ:SIRO), and Hibbett Sports (NASDAQ:HIBB) all release quarterly results.

Aruba Networks (NASDAQ:ARUN): Shares, surging before the bell, are boosted to Buy from Hold at Needham.

Bon-Ton Stores (NASDAQ:BONT): The stock, on a stellar recent run, is now Neutral from Underperform at Credit Suisse.

Dollar Tree (NASDAQ:DLTR): Dollar Tree stock slumped 4.48% yesterday but there is better news for the discount retail firm this morning. Barclays raises Dollar Tree to Overweight from Equal Weight.

Franklin Resources (NYSE:BEN): Shares get upgraded to Overweight from Equal Weight at Evercore. Its price objective, previously $51, increases to $64.

GameStop (NYSE:GME): GameStop, whose stock tumbled even in yesterday's record-setting market, is moved to Buy from Hold at Needham. Its fresh price objective is $60. Needham notes that eagerly-awaited new consoles have arrived, in the form of both Sony's (NYSE:SNE) PlayStation 4 and Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) Xbox One.

United Continental (NYSE:UAL): Citing its expectations for "outsized" upcoming earnings growth, Goldman Sachs gives the aviation outfit a Buy-from-Neutral boost, sending its stock up ahead of the open this morning. Yesterday, noted investor David Tepper called airlines his "big play in the market."

United Financial (NASDAQ:UBNK): Shares are now Buy from Neutral at Sterne Agee.

VeriFone (NYSE:PAY): Jefferies juices its research recommendation to Buy from Hold.

William Hill (OTCMKTS:WIMHY): The British bookmaker is up impressively in today's London trading on the back of an Overweight-from-Equal Weight boost by Barclays. A share-price pullback of late has provided would-be investors in the betting behemoth with an "excellent opportunity," the bank believes.

Yum Brands (NYSE:YUM): Yum Brands gets hoisted to Buy from Hold at Deutsche Bank, sending the stock (already at record highs) up again this morning. The bank notes both impressive earnings gains and ample free cash flow. Yum Brands owns KFC, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell.

(See also: Stock Downgrades: Unhappy Anniversary for JFK Adversary US Steel and New Stock Coverage: Kennedy-Era Mad Men Live On at AMC Networks)
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