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Stock Upgrades: Vivus Stock Is to Diet For

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

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Far be it for me to malign the fine folks on the Supreme Court, for that august institution is actually the only branch of government doing any work at the moment, but their recent decision to take on a case of Raging Bull is a clear sign that the bear is here. Dow Industrials (INDEXDJX:.DJI) duly dropped again amid signs the shutdown may be more protracted than previously expected. Not a great day to debut your stock, one would think, yet The Empire State Building (NYSE:ESRT) owner was among a trio of new names to end up. (Any outfit that can survive the seemingly mortal blows of both King Kong and Anthony Weiner has unequivocally earned its success.)

Elsewhere, any year the government goes dark is the kiss of death for Hugh Grant. In 1995 he had to endure Jay Leno's "What the hell were you thinking?" interrogation after the Divine Brown incident. And yesterday his Monsanto (NYSE:MON) fell after issuing iffy earnings. Mr. Grant has aged quite noticeably from his from his Four Weddings and a Funeral heyday, and yesterday one funeral was quite sufficient for Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings (NYSE:CCO). The advertiser, whose bright idea in Britain was to put a Walking Dead billboard right next to a funeral parlor, jumped 11.39%.

Today in economics, analysts expect to see a slippage in September's Institute for Supply Management services index at 10:00 a.m. Eastern. On the corporate earnings front, Comtech Telecommunications (NASDAQ:CMTL), Constellation Brands (NYSE:STZ), International Speedway (NASDAQ:ISCA), and Xyratex (NASDAQ:XRTX) are all due to release results.

AuRico Gold (NYSE:AUQ): Raymond James juices the commodity company to Outperform from Market Perform.

BlackBerry (NASDAQ:BBRY): Shares, downgraded elsewhere today, are now Neutral from Sell at Citigroup.

Five Below (NASDAQ:FIVE): Sterne Agee raises the retailer to Buy from Neutral, sending shares up this morning.

Hatteras Financial (NYSE:HTS): Keefe Bruyette raises the residential Real Estate Investment Trust to Outperform from Market Perform.

Norfolk Southern (NYSE:NSC): The railroad name is now Outperform from Perform at Avondale.

Riverbed Technology (NASDAQ:RVBD): RVBD is raised to Sector Perform from Underperform at RBC Capital.

Tate & Lyle (OTCMKTS:TATYY): Goldman Sachs gives the British maker of sugar and much else a Neutral-from-Sell increase.

Ternium (NYSE:TX): Morgan Stanley moves the steel stock to Overweight from Equal-Weight.

Tesco (OTCMKTS:TSCDY): The English grocer, now Neutral from Sell, gets an après earnings upgrade at Citigroup.

Ulta Salon (NASDAQ:ULTA): Citigroup adds the cosmetics company to its U.S. Focus List of favored equities.

VIVUS, Inc. (NASDAQ:VVUS): The maker of diet drug Qsymia is upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at Cowen. As a result its shares, up 8.64% in yesterday's down market, are adding to gains ahead of the open.

VMware (NYSE:VMW): FBN Securities takes the tech stock to Outperform from Sector Perform, in the process increasing its price objective by $10 to $100.

(See also: Stock Downgrades: Fair-Weather 'Friends' Flee Facebook and New Stock Coverage: Noodles & Co Looks a Little Limp.)

Disclosure: Minyanville Studios, a division of Minyanville Media, has a business relationship with BlackBerry.
No positions in stocks mentioned.
The information on this website solely reflects the analysis of or opinion about the performance of securities and financial markets by the writers whose articles appear on the site. The views expressed by the writers are not necessarily the views of Minyanville Media, Inc. or members of its management. Nothing contained on the website is intended to constitute a recommendation or advice addressed to an individual investor or category of investors to purchase, sell or hold any security, or to take any action with respect to the prospective movement of the securities markets or to solicit the purchase or sale of any security. Any investment decisions must be made by the reader either individually or in consultation with his or her investment professional. Minyanville writers and staff may trade or hold positions in securities that are discussed in articles appearing on the website. Writers of articles are required to disclose whether they have a position in any stock or fund discussed in an article, but are not permitted to disclose the size or direction of the position. Nothing on this website is intended to solicit business of any kind for a writer's business or fund. Minyanville management and staff as well as contributing writers will not respond to emails or other communications requesting investment advice.

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