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Stock Upgrades: Analyst Polishes Up Apple

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

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Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL) stock may be the talk of Wall Street as well as Madison Avenue today. Shares are showing strength this morning after being boosted ahead of next week's earnings announcement. The tech icon is expected to unveil both an iPhone 6 and smartwatch in the fall, and today an equity analyst praises Tim Cook's recent stewardship.
 
How interesting that Dow Industrials (INDEXDJX:.DJI), hitherto on a record run, have failed to finish above 17,000 ever since the Wall Street Journal's Editor in Chief rang the opening bell on Tuesday. Quite literally across the street from the newspaper's midtown Manhattan headquarters is our national debt clock, which currently stands at $17 trillion and counting. Investors who believed those two figures were in any way compatible were guilty of magical thinking and, in a week when Pinocchio died, tall tales suddenly loom less large. With the nation's top movie depicting a San Francisco awash in apes, Bay Area icons Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) and Pandora (NYSE:P) plunged a respective 6.9% and 11% as Internet stocks imploded. (Simians can still make a monkey out of any money manager, however.) In a week when naked short selling wasn't confined to Russian banknotes some stocks did buck a terrible tape. Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS) hit a historic high, with its stock certainly not now a steal even as Mickey Mouse became the latest victim of identity theft. Germaphobe Angela Merkel, forgoing her famous glue hands for once, shook hands with Germany's World Cup winners but a booming Glu Mobile (NASDAQ:GLUU) still gained 13.64%. Alcoa (NYSE:AA), under the auspices of its Teutonic CEO Klaus Kleinfeld, advanced a devilish 6.6% even as Brazil's defender Dante entered the seventh circle of hell against the Fatherland. Oil fell in 10 of 11 sessions, but energy outfit Petrobras Argentina (NYSE:PZE), pride of Buenos Aires, made money talk most eloquently with its 9.44% jump even as Cristina Kirchner shrewdly skipped the World Cup final loss with a suspiciously timed "throat ailment." BioAmber (NYSE:BIOA) rose 32.38% and amber waves of grain were also good to agribusiness giant Archer Daniels Midland (NYSE:ADM), which increased 4.54% to a multiyear peak. And gold gained for a sixth straight week, its strongest streak since August of 2011. Unfortunately an international investing icon who brought bullion to the masses didn't live to see it.
 
It's a quiet day in economic data but the first full week of Q2 earnings announcements is upon us, with Citigroup (NYSE:C) having released results earlier this morning.
 
Now let's analyze this morning's research recommendations, a group encompassing a fast food firm as well as our aforementioned Apple Inc.

AllianceBernstein (NYSE:AB): Keefe Bruyette boosts the money manager to Outperform from Market Perform. Its price objective, previously $27 is taken to $31.
 
Apple Inc: Today's headline stock is increased to Overweight from Equal Weight by Barclays. The target price is now $110, up from $95.
 
Brinker (NYSE:EAT): JPMorgan moves the owner of Chili's Grill & Bar to Overweight from Neutral.
 
China Mobile (NYSE:CHL): Shares are lifted to Buy from Neutral at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
 
Lear Corp (NYSE:LEA): LEA gets increased to Overweight from Equal Weight by Barclays.
 
NASDAQ OMX Group (NASDAQ:NDAQ): Shares are now Overweight from Equal Weight with an increased objective of $46 at Evercore.
 
Petrobras (NYSE:PBR): Goldman Sachs adds the stock to its LATAM Spotlight list.
 
Reynolds American (NYSE:RAI): The tobacco titan, in the news of late, is raised to Outperform from Perform with a $72 price target at RBC Capital, which cites potential merger synergies.
 
Signature Bank (NASDAQ:SBNY): Sterne Agee increases its investment assessment to Buy from Neutral.
 
Tesco (OTCMKTS:TSCDY): The British grocery giant gets upgraded an unusual 180 degrees, all the way to Buy from Sell, at Cantor Fitzgerald.
 
WhiteHorse Finance (NASDAQ:WHF): Shares are hoisted to Buy from Hold with Wunderlich.
 
Also see:

New Stock Coverage: Post-Apocalyptic San Francisco No Problem for Charles Schwab

Stock Downgrades: eBay's Attic Is Empty
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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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