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Stock Upgrades: You, Too, Can Be a Netflix Billionaire


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

Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) CEO Reed Hastings just became a billionaire and his stock options may be set to swell further today after a broker boost. It has been a decent start to the week for Mr. Hastings, who at yesterday's annual shareholder get-together beat back a proposal to separate the chief executive and chairman roles.
Both Dow Industrials (INDEXDJX:.DJI) and S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) shares each hit historic highs, but superstitious types will tell you that the miracle on Wall Street just came to an end, courtesy of 34th Street. You see, yet another loss has left the New York Rangers staring at a 0-3 Stanley Cup abyss. When they were swept in the 1929 finals, that year did not end well of course. Last night's loss may thus spell -- almost in spite of itself -- serious trouble. Edward Garden, the only Family Dollar (NYSE:FDO) director to vote against its poison pill, still enjoyed a better day than Madison Square Garden (NASDAQ:MSG), with his stock surging 13.37% thanks to Carl Icahn and a broker boost. Ruckus Rangers fans well know the expression, "I went to an ice hockey game and a boxing match broke out," but no one was shorting Joe Boxer owner Iconix Brand (NASDAQ:ICON), which rose to a lifetime best. Among other equities on the move, Annie's Inc. (NYSE:BNNY), home of mac and cheese, surged 7.79%, and Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL) advanced 1.60% after a stock split that most benefited its arch rival Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) as befuddled investors went in search of an answer. Buenos Aires-based fast food firm Arcos Dorados (NYSE:ARCO), pride of the Pampas, rose 7.91% on a rating increase, and Argentina's own Pope Francis was on the money in eschewing Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) for Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) as the former barely budged while the latter jumped another 3.42%.
Today in economics, April wholesale inventories are out at 10:00 a.m. EDT. On the corporate front, Burlington Stores (NYSE:BURL) and RadioShack (NYSE:RSH) each released results earlier this morning.
Now let's analyze this morning's upgrades, a group encompassing a toothpaste titan trading at historic highs as well as our aforementioned Netflix.

Achillion Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:ACHN): Shares, which surged 47.57% yesterday, are up another 20.94% even as we speak. This morning JMP Securities moves the company to Outperform from Market Perform.
Alcatel Lucent (NYSE:ALU): HSBC Securities hoists the French telecom firm to Neutral from Overweight.
Colgate Palmolive (NYSE:CL): Smile. The stock, trading at historic highs, gets upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform by BMO Capital Markets.
Henkel (OTCMKTS:HENKY): Société Générale boosts the German glue giant to Buy from Hold.
HomeAway (NASDAQ:AWAY): Bank of American Merrill Lynch lifts its investment assessment to Neutral from Underperform.
Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX): Today's headline equity is edging up ahead of the open after upgraded to Overweight from Equal Weight at Evercore.
Remy Cointreau (OTCMKTS:REMYF): The cognac king is now Neutral from Underweight at JPMorgan.
Republic Services (NYSE:RSG): Raymond James raises its RSG recommendation to Strong Buy from Perform.
Sprint (NYSE:S): Amid merger optimism, Macquarie moves the rating to Outperform from Neutral.
Twitter: The social networking name is taken to Market Perform from Underperform with Wells Fargo.
Union Pacific (NYSE:UNP): Shares are increased to Outperform from Sector Perform at RBC Capital Markets, which cites good growth and impressively steady earnings. Its price objective, previously $97, is now $115.

Also see:

New Stock Coverage: PepsiCo Sows Its Quaker Oats

Stock Downgrades: As It Happens, Lady Luck Isn't Staying in Las Vegas Sands
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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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