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Stock Upgrades: Sheryl Sandberg's Staying, So Lean In to Facebook

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

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In another banner day for our postal service, news just reached us that a Brooklyn woman finally received a birthday card that had been held up for four-and-a-half decades. Thankfully, Janet Yellen, a fellow native of New York's hippest borough, ensured investors had only to wait three weeks for their check to arrive in the mail. The Fed head is obviously the one for Mr. Market, with Dow Industrials (INDEXDJX:.DJI) advancing exactly 1.11% after the release of dovish meeting minutes from March 19. Among stocks on the move, Caesars Entertainment (NASDAQ:CZR) surged 9.46%. Julius was stabbed in the back, and General Motors (NYSE:GM) must feel Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) just did the same thing. The broker, whose longtime auto analyst Stephen Girsky left for the car company, sent shares in his troubled Motown giant tumbling another 2.64% with its rating reduction. (There is still some unlikely loyalty left in Detroit, however, to judge by ex-Chrysler CEO Robert Nardelli telling Maria Bartiromo, "I'm cheering for General Motors.") Back in the early '80s, of course, Lee Iacocca famously brought Chrysler back from the dead amid an onslaught of Japanese competition. My, how times change, as evidenced in an utterly astonishing statistic involving pride-of-Tokyo Toyota Motor (NYSE:TM). Elsewhere, a revenue warning and iffy analyst initiation sent the robots of Intuitive Surgical (NASDAQ:ISRG) slumping 6.78%. Chalk up one -- no, make that one more -- for the humans, even as all Wall Street fixates on Michael Lewis's machines.
 
Today's quarterly earnings announcements are due to include Family Dollar (NYSE:FDO), Pier 1 Imports (NYSE:PIR), and Rite Aid (NYSE:RAD).
 
Akamai Technologies (NASDAQ:AKAM): B. Riley & Co. raises its recommendation to Buy from Neutral.
 
Alkermes (NASDAQ:ALKS): Shares are now Buy from Neutral at Mizuho, which also increases its price objective by $6 to $61. Positive Phase III schizophrenia data can act as a catalyst, the bank believes.
 
AmerisourceBergen (NYSE:ABC): The stock gets upgraded to Outperform from Perform with a $75 target price at FBR Capital, which says shares now trade at an attractive discount to competitors.
 
BT Group (NYSE:BT): UBS increases the British telecom titan to Neutral from Sell.
 
DexCom (NASDAQ:DXCM): The stock gets a Buy-from-Neutral boost at Sterne Agee.
 
Extra Space Storage (NYSE:EXR): Macquarie moves the equity to Outperform from Neutral.
 
Facebook (NASDAQ:FB): The social networking name surged an S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX)-best 7.25% yesterday on news that Sheryl Sandberg isn't going anywhere. The stock is up another 1.12% as we speak after being hoisted to Buy from Hold at Pivotal Research. Its price objective, previously $66, increases to $72.
 
J.C. Penney (NYSE:JCP): Belus Capital Advisors raises the retailer to Hold from Sell.
 
Liberty Global (NASDAQ:LBTYA): The equity gets added to Goldman Sachs's list of Conviction Buys.
 
Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX): NFLX is now Buy from Hold at Hudson Square Research.
 
Nike (NYSE:NKE): Not this week's first upgrade for the key Dow component, which this morning is moved to Outperform from Neutral at Macquarie.
 
Palo Alto Networks (NYSE:PANW): The tech name gets taken to Outperform from Perform at JMP Securities.
 
Premier, Inc. (NASDAQ:PINC): ISI Group gives the health-care information outfit a Buy-from-Neutral lift with a $39.50 target. Catalysts include impressive underlying organic growth.
 
Twitter (NYSE:TWTR): Cantor Fitzgerald takes TWTR to Hold from Sell.
 
Wright Medical (NASDAQ:WMGI): Shares are raised to Outperform from Neutral by Robert W. Baird.
 
Yamana Gold (NYSE:AUY): HSBC Securities hoists the Canadian commodity company to Neutral from Underweight.
 
Zumiez (NASDAQ:ZUMZ): The stock is now Buy from Neutral at DA Davidson, which takes its price target to $31 from $27.
 
Disclosure: Minyanville Media has a business relationship with E-Trade.

Also see:

New Stock Coverage: Don't Be a 'Jony'-Come-Lately on Apple

Stock Downgrades: Bed Bath & Beyond Set to Get Soaked

No positions in stocks mentioned.
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