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Stock Upgrades: Apple Inc. Bites Back

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

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Today will be predictably dominated by Apple (AAPL), but yesterday was all about pie, as the S&P 500 (^GSPC) snapped a four-session win streak to slip 3.14 points. (And how could we forget Mom? Not when Wendy's (WEN), whose advertising subliminally honors all matriarchs, advanced 8.23%? For good measure, England's Premier Foods (LON:PFD) surged 6.2%, as citizens bought its Mother's Pride bread en masse to celebrate the royal birth.)

An analyst upgrade sent Milton Bradley's Hasbro (HAS) up 2.05%, and Milton Hershey (HSY) saw his stock hit the highest level in its history on a similar broker boost. Free market Milton Friedman would surely approve. Alas, Marissa Mayer's suddenly shunned Yahoo (YHOO) is unlikely to be singing, "Hey Mickey, you're so fine" after her abrupt exit.

This morning in economics, analysts expect an increase in June new home sales at 10:00 a.m. Eastern. On the corporate front, the midpoint of the busiest week for quarterly earnings announcements is upon us. Today's results are due to include Akamai (AKAM), Baidu (BIDU), Boeing (BA), Canon (CAJ), Caterpillar (CAT), Daimler (DDAIF), Eli Lilly (LLY), Facebook (FB), Ford (F), GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), PepsiCo (PEP), Qualcomm (QCOM), and Visa (V).

Apple Inc. (AAPL): The long-suffering stock is upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform by BMO Capital. Shares are currently up more than 4% after last night's well-received earnings announcement.

DR Horton (DHI): Compass Point hoists the homebuilder to Buy from Neutral.

Embraer (ERJ): The Brazilian jet maker is moved to Neutral from Underweight at JPMorgan.

Ironwood Pharmaceuticals (IRWD): Shares are upgraded to Hold from Sell at Cantor Fitzgerald, whose price objective increases to $10 from $7.00 amid a more compelling valuation and greater expense control.

Juniper Networks (JNPR): UBS juices the fiber optic firm to Buy from Neutral.

Lockheed Martin (LMT): Bank of America-Merrill Lynch lifts the resurgent aerospace firm to Neutral from Underperform.

MGIC Investment (MTG): MTG is moved to Positive from Neutral at Susquehanna.

Sensata Technologies (ST): Oppenheimer increases its investment assessment to Outperform from Perform.

Standard Chartered (SCBFF): The British financial firm is moved to Equal-Weight from Overweight at Morgan Stanley.

TCF Financial (TCB): FBR Capital takes the stock to Perform from Underperform, in the process increasing its price target by $7.50 to $17. Catalysts include fee income growth and improving credit quality.

TD Ameritrade (AMTD): The biggest domestic discount brokerage, fresh from reporting 20% increase in Q2 profit, gets upgraded to Neutral from Sell at Goldman Sachs.

VMware (VMW): Raymond James raises the tech name, surging some 13.02% as I write, to Outperform from Perform.

Vodafone (VOD): The telecom firm is added to UBS's European key call list.

Wendy's (WEN): The fast food firm, fresh from yesterday's 8.23% Q2 earnings-related advance, is today taken to Neutral from Sell at Goldman Sachs.

(See also: Stock Downgrades: Norfolk Southern Corp. Heads South in a Hurry and New Stock Coverage: Stock Up on Costco Wholesale Corporation.)
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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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