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Stock Upgrades: AstraZeneca Has It Covered From A to Z

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

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Clocks don't go back until Sunday, but last week stocks jumped the gun - with no thanks to a 7% slump in firearm firm Sturm Ruger (NYSE:RGR) - by returning all the way to 1999. Inspired by the first World Series since that year to feature baseball's top two teams, Amazon's (NASDAQ:AMZN) man of the millennium saw his stock surge 10.48% to a record, while Ford's (NYSE:F) current valuation now almost exactly mirrors what is was 14 years ago. The S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) index thus advanced to a historic high amid favorable earnings and economic data. With unemployment falling to a five year low of 7.2%, it was a good week for workmen, if not Workman. The laziness of Whirlpool's (NYSE:WHR) Maytag repairman is legendary but he can afford to join the ranks of American idle after that stock jumped 9.6% in its best showing for 20 months. Elsewhere JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM), whose "teapot tempest" still shows no signs of blowing over, agreed to pay $5.1 billion to settle mortgage shenanigans. All the tea in China was powerless to prevent Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) from getting into hot water over coffee prices in Beijing. This left the country's citizen's steaming mad; Madison Avenue, meanwhile, welcomed the store's first Tevana in Manhattan. And amid all the ebullience, Citrix Systems (NASDAQ:CTXS) slid to a fresh 52-week low. The company's software lets people access work files from home. Perhaps even including the employee who claimed he couldn't make it to the office due to his false teeth flying out the window while driving down the highway.

This morning in economic data, September pending home sales are due at 10:00 a.m. Eastern. On the corporate front, just under half of the S&P 500 Index (INDEXSP:.INX) have now released quarterly results. Today's announcements are expected to include América Móvil (NYSE:AMX), Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), Biogen Idec (NASDAQ:BIIB), Herbalife (NYSE:HLF), Linn Energy (NASDAQ:LINE), Loews Corporation (NYSE:L), Masco (NYSE:MAS), Merck (NYSE:MRK), Riverbed Technology (NASDAQ:RVBD), Seagate Technology (NYSE:STX), and TNT Express (OTCMKTS:TNTEY).

AstraZeneca (NYSE:AZN): Bank of America-Merrill Lynch lifts the European pharmaceutical giant to Neutral from Underperform.

Bank of Nova Scotia (NYSE:BNS): Credit Suisse moves its fellow financial firm to Outperform from Neutral.

Bristol-Myers Squibb (NYSE:BMY): The drug stock is boosted to Overweight from Equal-Weight at Morgan Stanley.

Choice Hotels (NYSE:CHH): The accommodation outfit, downgraded elsewhere this morning, is now Neutral from Underperform at Credit Suisse.

CubeSmart (NYSE:CUBE): Macquarie moves the stock to Neutral from Underperform.

FMC Technologies (NYSE:FTI): FTI gets taken to Buy from Neutral at Guggenheim.

Generac Holdings (NYSE:GNRC): Goldman Sachs gives the power generation name a Neutral-from-Sell upgrade.

Iberdrola (OTCMKTS:IBDRY): JPMorgan moves the Spanish utility giant to Neutral from Underweight.

OncoGenex Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:OGXI): Shares are now Strong Buy from Buy at Needham, which also takes its target up by $10 to $30.

Patterson-UTI (NASDAQ:PTEN): Goldman upgrades the energy outfit to Neutral from Sell.

T. Rowe Price (NASDAQ:TROW): UBS increases its investment assessment to Buy from Neutral.

(See also: New Stock Coverage: Fate Therapeutics Leaves Nothing to Chance and Stock Downgrades: Crocs Takes a Walk on the Wild Side)
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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