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Stock Upgrades: Eli Lilly Coming Up Roses

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

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A recently unearthed video showed a geeky Jon Hamm, looking nothing like the Don Draper lady-killer who returned to our TV screens last night, getting nowhere with the ladies in 1996. That was also the year of Alan Greenspan's "irrational exuberance" in equities and, alas, the S&P 500 Index (INDEXSP:.INX) similarly looks nothing like it did back then. This, after both the benchmark bourse and Nasdaq (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) endured their single worst week in almost two years. (Thankfully, IAC/InterActiveCorp (NASDAQ:IACI), up 0.66% even in Friday's market bloodbath after buying more of Tinder, is still trying its best to play matchmaker for Mr. Hamm and others.) Twitter's (NYSE:TWTR) bluebird slid 7.2%, but the news was better for Dove soap owner Unilever (NYSE:UN). It gained 4.14% to an all-time high after, well, dovish comments from the Fed head. An eagle-eyed editor failed to watch like a hawk and was taken in by a spoof story about the Vatican. Yet the Buenos Aires-born pontiff had the last laugh as his hometown's Telecom Argentina (NYSE:TEO) advanced 4.36% amid the downturn. And ahead of tomorrow's IRS deadline, H&R Block (NYSE:HRB) slumped 6.3%. There is no evading the truth -- these are taxing times for Wall Street's bull.
 
Today in economics, business inventories for February are out at 10:00 a.m. EDT. On the corporate front, the first full week of first-quarter earnings commences with Citigroup (NYSE:C), JB Hunt Transport (NASDAQ:JBHT), and M&T Bank (NYSE:MTB) all releasing results.
 
Acorda Therapeutics (NASDAQ:ACOR): Shares get upgraded to Outperform from Perform at FBR Capital, which takes its target price to $47 from $30. Plumiaz, to treat epilepsy seizures, offers promise, the bank believes.
 
bebe stores (NASDAQ:BEBE): The stock is now Buy from Neutral at Janney amid improving same-store sales.
 
Bloomin' Brands (NASDAQ:BLMN): Deutsche Bank hoists the owner of Outback Steakhouse to Buy from Hold.
 
Boston Scientific (NYSE:BSX): Bank of America Merrill Lynch the medical device maker to Buy from Neutral.
 
BP Plc (NYSE:BP): The oil giant gets upgraded to Buy from Hold at Canaccord Genuity.
 
Credit Card CompaniesMasterCard (NYSE:MA) and Visa (NYSE:V) are each upgraded to Outperform from Neutral at Robert W. Baird, which sees an attractive entry point after shares recently pulled back. Its respective price objectives are $83 and $245.
 
Eaton Vance (NYSE:EV): The stock is now Neutral from Sell at Citigroup.
 
Eli Lilly (NYSE:LLY): Jefferies hoists the pharmaceutical firm to Hold from Underperform.
 
F5 Networks (NASDAQ:FFIV): Shares are taken to Buy from Hold at Stifel.
 
Hyatt Hotels (NYSE:H): FBR Capital increases the accommodation outfit to Outperform from Perform. Its price objective, previously $55, is now $62.
 
Lincoln National (NYSE:LNC): LNC is lifted to Strong Buy from Outperform at Raymond James.
 
Palo Alto Networks (NYSE:PANW): Shares are boosted to Overweight from Equal Weight by Barclays.
 
PriceSmart (NASDAQ:PSMT): Roth Capital raises its recommendation to Buy from Neutral.
 
TD Ameritrade (NYSE:AMTD): The stock is taken to Outperform from Perform at Keefe Bruyette.
 
Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO): Shares are now Buy from Neutral with an amended $40 price objective at SunTrust.
 
VMware (NYSE:VMW): Credit Agricole increases its opinion to Outperform from Underperform.
 
Zimmer (NYSE:ZMH): The stock is now Neutral from Reduce at SunTrust.
 
Also see:

New Stock Coverage: 3D Systems No Longer a License to Print Money

Stock Downgrades: Microsoft Has Tech Investors Jumping Out of Windows
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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