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Stock Upgrades: Lorillard, Potash Light Up the Joint


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

Remember when Bubba and Boris laughed up a storm? A subsequent sharp souring of the body language by their successors sent the Dow (INDEXDJX:.DJI) down every single day last week. That was then, this is now. Back in the 1990s, a gray-haired 40-something named Bill sucked up all the oxygen. (OK, so maybe things aren't so different two decades on.) The New York Times (NYSE:NYT) noted that the aforementioned William Ackman "is currently sitting on $500 million of paper losses." He is also sitting on his Fannie (OTCBB:FNMA), being the single largest holder of its stock outside of Uncle Sam. Its 30% Tuesday tumble was no fun for the billionaire, but he had far better luck with his big short Herbalife (NYSE:HLF) after it imploded 10%. Elsewhere, the Commerce Department gave up oversight of ICANN, and eBay Inc. (NASDAQ:EBAY) wondered aloud: "Where on Earth is the parental supervision on Icahn?"
Today's quarterly earnings announcements include Harvest Natural (NYSE:HNR), PICO Holdings (NASDAQ:PICO), and Sterling Construction (NASDAQ:STRL).
Alon USA Partners (NYSE:ALDW): Citigroup lifts the limited partnership to Buy from Neutral. Its price objective, previously $16, also increases by $3.
Commvault Systems (NASDAQ:CVLT): Shares are now Buy from Neutral at Mizuho, which takes its target price up by $5 to $80. The recent share-price pullback has presented investors with a compelling buying opportunity, the broker believes.
Energy StocksBaker Hughes (NYSE:BHI) gets upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Goldman Sachs, which adds Patterson-UTI (NASDAQ:PTEN) to its Conviction Buy list.
Lorillard (NYSE:LO): Amid the prospect of lessened regulatory risk, Goldman gives the cigarette stock a Buy-from-Neutral upgrade. Its brands include Kent, Maverick, Newport, and Old Gold.
Martin Midstream (NASDAQ:MMLP): UBS moves MMLP to Buy from Neutral. Its objective is $46.
Post Holdings (NYSE:POST): The cereal stock gets taken to Buy from Neutral at SunTrust.
Potash Corp (NYSE:POT): Cowen increases the fertilizer firm to Market Perform from Underperform.
Regeneron Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:REGN): REGN is raised to Buy from Neutral at Citigroup, which also takes its target to $390 from $342.
SAP AG (NYSE:SAP): Shares are now Buy from Neutral, again at Citi.
Siemens (NYSE:SI): Bank of America Merrill Lynch lifts the German giant to Buy from Neutral.
TC Pipelines (NYSE:TCP): The stock is boosted to Buy from Neutral with a $51 target at UBS.
Watts Water (NYSE:WTS): Shares are hoisted to Buy from Hold at BB&T Capital Markets.

Also see:

New Stock Coverage: WidePoint Stock High, Wide, and Handsome

Stock Downgrades: Wearing of the Green? It's 50 Shades of Red for Gray Television

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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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