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Stock Upgrades: AutoNation, Inc. Is Music to Michael Jackson's Ears


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

Yesterday proved profitable for pyramids, with Egypt's main market surging 4.9% amid the mayhem, and "pyramid schemes," as Herbalife (HLF) bucked a bad tape to gain 2.72%. Many other investments were unable to part a sea of red ink, however. Among stocks that scored good gains as Bank of America-Merrill Lynch (BAC) turned more constructive on equities was Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF). It jumped 3.77% but don't expect Taylor Swift's father, a broker at Merrill Lynch, to buy some any time soon. Abercrombie's male models are famous for their six-pack abs but they say you should never mix the grain and the grape, at least in your portfolio. Sure enough, the world's largest winemaker Constellation Brands (STZ) slumped 3.54% on earnings. And America's premier pen maker A.T. Cross (ATX) lost 3.02% on a ratings reduction just in time for tomorrow's celebration of John Hancock's signature.

This morning in economics, June's Institute for Supply Management non-manufacturing index is expected to tick up slightly at 10:00 a.m. Eastern. There are no quarterly earnings announcements of note, and the New York Stock Exchange and bond markets are scheduled for early finishes of 1:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m., respectively, ahead of tomorrow's Independence Day holiday, when all US markets will be closed.

ARM Holdings plc (ADR) (ARMH): The Apple Inc. (AAPL) chip supplier is showing strength in today's weak London tape after getting lifted to Buy from Neutral at UBS, which says recent weakness provides investors with an attractive entry point.

AutoNation, Inc. (AN): The company, whose CEO Michael J. Jackson has overseen a 21.22% share-price increase over the past 12 months, is now Outperform from Neutral at Credit Suisse. The bank now expects AN to show better results in its parts and service segments.

Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. (CMG): The fast food firm gets hoisted to Buy from Hold at Argus, whose target price is $430. The broker now projects comparative store sales to gain 2.5% in 2013, a full 0.5% higher than its previous growth projection.

Comerica Incorporated (CMA): Shares are now Neutral from Sell at Citigroup.

Daimler AG (USA) (DDAIF): JP Morgan moves the German car company to Overweight from Neutral.

EZCORP Inc (EZPW): The pawnbroker is boosted to Buy from Neutral at Sterne Agee.

Leap Wireless International, Inc. (LEAP): LEAP is now Neutral from Underperform at Macquarie.

Randgold Resources Ltd. (ADR) (GOLD): Citi gives GOLD a Neutral-from-Sell upgrade.

The New York Times Company (NYT): Shares are lifted to Neutral from Sell at Lazard.

Zions Bancorporation (ZION): Shares are now Buy from Neutral at Citigroup.

(See also: Stock Downgrades: Ominous News Out of Alcoa Inc as Earnings Await and New Stock Coverage: Twenty-First Century Fox Inc Is a Stock for the Ages.)
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