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Stock Upgrades: Starz Stock a Cannabis-Free Way to Get High in Colorado

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

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Yesterday was another deadly, dull day on Wall Street, with the S&P 500 Index (INDEXSP:.INX) advancing all of 0.03%, but compared with the excitement that occurred exactly 13 years earlier, sometimes it's better to be boring. That day the Dow (INDEXDJX:.DJI), en route to one of the worst weeks in its entire history, fell 436.37 points. History picked a fine time to rhyme; that distant day's difficulties were caused primarily by Pfizer (NYSE:PFE), and yesterday its 1.36% tumble made it easily the poorest-performing blue chip. Amid a dearth of domestic economic data, investors instead watched ominous developments in Ukraine. There, Angela Merkel said the European Union is all set to impose additional sanctions. Right after they take care of the really important stuff, like regulating Parmesan. With the continent getting fully 40% of its gas from Moscow, is the sloth a surprise? Snack stock Diamond Foods (NASDAQ:DMND), best known for its walnuts, surged 9.88% to a fresh best. Which will make one person in Pakistan head-bangingly happy. Eat enough of them, and you will be brainy. Bill Ackman already is, with dual degrees from Harvard. (Magna cum laude, thank you very much.) Yesterday the smart money finally followed him on Herbalife (NYSE:HLF), which sank some 7.37% after an investigation was opened at long last. Us less intelligent types could still take heart, however, as For Dummies owner John Wiley & Sons (NYSE:JW.A) rose 1.72% in hitting a historic high.
 
Today in economics, analysts call for January business inventories to fall from the prior month's pace at 10:00 a.m. Eastern. In earnings action, Aeropostale (NYSE:ARO), Dollar General (NYSE:DG), Plug Power (NASDAQ:PLUG), SeaWorld (NYSE:SEAS), and Zumiez (NASDAQ:ZUMZ) are all due to release results.
 
Activision Blizzard (NASDAQ:ATVI): The stock, which rose 2.46% to a fresh best yesterday, is adding on another 4.22% as we speak. This, after a lift to Buy from Neutral at Bank of America-Merrill Lynch.
 
Alliant Techsystems (NYSE:ATK): Barclays increases the aerospace and defense outfit to Equal Weight from Underweight. Its price objective, previously $95, increases all the way to $157.
 
Alon USA Energy (NYSE:ALJ): Shares get moved to Outperform from Neutral at Macquarie.
 
Barclays (NYSE:BCS): The British bank is now Add from Hold at Numis.
 
Cabela's (NYSE:CAB): William Blair boosts the equity to Outperform from Market Perform.
 
Dresser-Rand (NYSE:DRC): Shares upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform, again at Blair.
 
LifeLock (NYSE:LOCK): LOCK is added to Short-Term Buy list by Deutsche Bank.
 
Starz (NASDAQ:STRZA): This Englewood-based company, unlike many others in the Centennial State, is certainly not going to pot after getting upgraded to Equal Weight from Underweight at Evercore.
 
Tim Hortons (THI): The Canadian coffee and doughnut king is given a broker boost, not its first in recent weeks. Today KeyBanc Capital Markets hoists it to Buy from Hold.
 
Torchmark (NYSE:TMK): Shares are now Buy from Neutral at Natixis Bleichroeder, whose target price is $9.
 
Qihoo 360 Technology (NYSE:QIHU): The stock is increased to Outperform from Neutral at Credit Suisse.

Also see:

New Stock Coverage: Buy Caesars Acquisition Before Ides of March?

Stock Downgrades: It's Goodbye, Columbus, as Express Endures Another Dire Day
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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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