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Stock Upgrades: King Digital Entertainment Can Candy Crush the Competition

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

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Irish outfit King Digital Entertainment (NYSE:KING), which owns the addictive mobile game Candy Crush Saga, could be king for a day. Its stock is up 3.70% ahead of the open after a broker boost. The company went public at $22.50 in March and quickly became bedeviled by concerns it was a one-hit wonder. However, shares have surged over the past eight weeks as investors anticipate an upcoming release of its brand-extending Candy Crush Soda Saga.
 
In a week that ended amid a burst of 1990s nostalgia from National Geographic, the stock market did its best to relive that irrationally exuberant age. The Dow (INDEXDJX:.DJI) and S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) each rose to records after our economy posted its best half-year for job growth since 1999, a long-forgotten age way back when Seinfeld still had watercooler currency, the popularity of soccer was set to explode in America, and Bill Clinton sucked up all the oxygenTotal Recall came out at the very start of that decade and, if the movie says it all about the current state of General Motors (NYSE:GM), the automaker isn't complaining. It gained 3.1% amid stellar sales of its Buick Encore SUV, as the kids of those trailblazing minivan soccer moms of '96 finally came of age on the fútbol fields of Brazil. Not least goaltender hero Tim Howard, whose enthusiasm for saving was doubtless sharpened by dating a supermodel citizen of famously frugal Scotland. (Alas US Steel (NYSE:X), founded by Braveheart-born Andrew Carnegie, fared far less well after being booted from the benchmark bourse.) And Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) jumped 6.9% to a historic high amid a broker boost by Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS), which wasn't supposed to be such a fan of films.
 
There aren't any top-tier economic data due today, and it is equally quiet on the earnings front. Tomorrow, however, Alcoa (NYSE:AA) unofficially ushers in second-quarter reporting season when it releases results after the close.
 
Now let's look at this morning's analyst upgrades, a group encompassing a discount broker as well as our aforementioned King Digital Entertainment.

Applied Materials (NASDAQ:AMAT): Shares are up 2.24% before the bell on a boost to Overweight from Neutral at JPMorgan, which also takes its target price to $30 from $19. Catalysts include "meaningful cost synergies," analysts wrote in a note.
 
Canadian Solar (NASDAQ:CSIQ): FBR Capital raises its rating to Outperform from Perform amid an impressive project pipeline.
 
Century Aluminum (NASDAQ:CENX): Goldman Sachs gives the commodity company an upgrade to Neutral from Sell.
 
Charles Schwab (NYSE:SCHW): Raymond James juices its recommendation to Perform from Underperform.
 
Devon Energy (NYSE:DVN): The stock is now Buy from Neutral at Citigroup. Its price objective also increases, by $21 to $96.
 
King Digital Entertainment: Today's headline stock gets increased to Overweight from Neutral at Piper Jaffray, whose price target is $28.
 
Norcraft (NYSE:NCFT): KeyBanc Capital Markets moves the equity to Buy from Hold.
 
SeaWorld Entertainment (NYSE:SEAS): Shares are lifted to Buy from Neutral at Longbow.
 
Southern Copper (NYSE:SCCO): The commodity company is upgraded to Outperform from Perform by BMO Capital.
 
Western Refining (NYSE:WNR): Citigroup hoists the stock to Buy from Neutral, also taking up its target by $12 to $55.
 
Williams-Sonoma (NYSE:WSM): Bank of America Merrill Lynch lifts the Pottery Barn owner to Buy from Neutral.
 
Ultratech (NASDAQ:UTEK): Shares are up smartly ahead of the open after being moved to Buy from Neutral by Bank of America Merrill.

Also see:

New Stock Coverage: Strike While MobileIron Is Hot
 
Stock Downgrades: Bed Bath & Beyond Sleeps In on Monday Morning
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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