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Stock Upgrades: Allergan Tells Ackman 'Take Two Poison Pills and Call Me in the Morning'

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

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The battle for Allergan (NYSE:AGN), maker of frozen smiles, is heating up. Shares in the Botox owner surged an S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) best 15.25% yesterday on news of a bid by billionaire activist investor Bill Ackman. Now the pharmaceutical firm is fighting back in the form of a poison pill. Still, shares get a broker boost by JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM) this morning, and the analyst also increases the price objective to $190 from $130.
 
Yesterday Allergan's antiwrinkle treatment turned an aging bull into a raging bull. Stocks that surged included soccer side Manchester United (NYSE:MANU), which jumped 5.98% after dispensing with a manager whose famously furrowed face absolutely cries out for Allergan. (A low blow? Look, as a lifelong Liverpool fan who once flew 11,000 miles to cheer on United's arch enemy, I make absolutely no apology for such schadenfreude.) Advertising giant Omnicom Group (NYSE:OMC) tumbled 2.27%. Mad Men would make us believe 1969 was all drug-crazed hippies traipsing through the mud at Woodstock, but what do they know. That year an impeccably clean-cut group of geeks founded Advanced Micro Devices (NYSE:AMD). Its equity, which jumped an NYSE-best 11.65% on Monday, added on another 4.37% 24 hours later. Of course, 1969 was also the most iconic year in the history of motorcycling, and Harley-Davidson (NYSE:HOG), up 6.41% at a fresh best, is proving itself a worthy heir four-and-a-half decades on.
 
This morning in economics, March new home sales are expected to improve from February's pace at 10:00 a.m. EDT. Hump Day of the peak week for quarterly earnings announcements is upon us, with Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), Boeing (NYSE:BA), Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), and Procter & Gamble (NYSE:PG) among a plethora of companies releasing results.
 
Now let's turn to this morning's analyst upgrades, a group that encompasses a discount broker and pharmaceutical firm as well as our aforementioned Allergan.

Agnico-Eagle Mines (NYSE:AEM): Shares get upgraded to Outperform from Perform with a $43 price objective at RBC Capital, which cites an accretive upcoming transaction.
 
AK Steel (NYSE:AKS): The commodity company is moved to Outperform from Neutral at Macquarie.
 
Allergan: Regular Minyanville readers will know that you could have picked up the frozen smile-maker much cheaper -- and not once, but twice -- back in the polar vortex. Better late than never, however, as JPMorgan moves it to Overweight from Neutral this morning.
 
Associated British Foods (OTCMKTS:ASBFY): Panmure hoists the stock to Buy from Hold.
 
athenahealth (NASDAQ:ATHN): Shares are increased to Overweight from Equal-Weight at Morgan Stanley. Its target price is also taken up, to $192 from $133.
 
Cabot Oil & Gas (NYSE:COG): Societe Generale raises the company to Buy from Hold.
 
Cree, Inc. (NASDAQ:CREE): The stock is boosted to Buy from Hold at Summit Research. Still, shares are slumping some 7%-plus before the bell after the company announced earnings.
 
Dollar Tree (NASDAQ:DLTR): Shares are added to the Short Term Buy list at Deutsche Bank.
 
Equifax (NYSE:EFX): EFX is now Outperform from Neutral at Credit Suisse.
 
E-Trade (NASDAQ:ETFC): Not the first April upgrade for the firm, today taken to Outperform from Market Perform with Wells Fargo.
 
Fluidigm (NASDAQ:FLDM): Shares are upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Mizuho, which takes its target to $50 from $43. A recent acquisition is cited as a share price catalyst.
 
GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE:GSK): Drug stock GSK, up 4.10% yesterday, is adding on another 4.69% before the bell after being boosted to Buy from Hold at Argus.
 
SunPower (NASDAQ:SPWR): Bank of America Merrill Lynch lifts the alternative energy equity to Buy from Underperform, an unusual 180-degree increase.
 
TECO Energy (NYSE:TE): TE is taken to Neutral from Sell at UBS.
 
Thomas Cook (OTCMKTS:TCKGY) Shares are up 4.55% in London today after an upgrade to Overweight from Equal Weight by Barclays.
 
Vitamin Shoppe (NYSE:VSI): The stock is now Buy from Neutral at Sterne Agee.
 
Disclosure: Minyanville Media has a business relationship with E-Trade.

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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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