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Stock Upgrades: Bristol-Myers Is Just What the Doctor Ordered


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

The fall is all around us - this Sunday is the autumnal equinox and last Sunday spelled the end of Summers - yet stocks still stubbornly refuse to drop. S&P 500 Index (INDEXSP:.INX) shares advanced 1.98% and have now risen in nine of 10 September sessions. Sears (NASDAQ:SHLD) surged 28.42% as its equity aged far better than the company's 30-year-old catalogs. Delta Air Lines (NYSE:DAL) gained 13% in a week which ended on Friday the 13th. (And if you think that's scary, be grateful you weren't on that day's flight 666 to HEL.) Elsewhere an unloved Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) endured its worst week since April, sliding some 6.7% to end at "only" $464.90. Some crisis. Indeed that Siberian kid who just emerged from the forest after 16 years could be forgiven for asking what all the fuss is about. After all, when he disappeared in 1997, the almost-bankrupt Cupertino company was trading at a decidedly unfortunate 13-1/16 before being rescued by Bill Gates.

American Tower (NYSE:AMT): Shares are now Buy from Neutral at Nomura.

AstraZeneca (NYSE:AZN): The pharmaceutical firm gets an unusual 180 degree (Buy from Sell) upgrade at Nordea.

AXA SA (OTCMKTS:AXAHY): Bank of America-Merrill Lynch lifts the financial name to Neutral from Underperform.

Barclays (NYSE:BCS): The British bank is raised to Buy from Reduce at Nomura, sending it higher in today's London trading.

Blackstone Group (NYSE:BX): The money manager is moved to Buy from Neutral at Bank of America-Merrill Lynch.

Bristol-Myers Squibb Co (NYSE:BMY): The drug stock is showing strength ahead of today's opening bell after getting upgraded to Overweight from Neutral at JPMorgan. A relatively plump product pipeline should see average earnings growth of 13% through 2020, the bank believes. Its price objective, previously $50, increases to $52.

Dominion Resources (NYSE:D): The electric utility gets a Buy-from-Hold hoist at ISI Group, which also takes its target price up by $5 to $66.

European Pharmaceuticals: Barclays boosts Novo Nordisk (NYSE:NVO) by an unusual 180 degrees (Overweight from Underweight) amid insulin market optimism. Sanofi (SNYE:SNY), meanwhile, is lifted to Overweight from Equal Weight due to high hopes for its diabetes drug Lantus.

Heartland Financial (NASDAQ:HTLF): Raymond James raises its recommendation to Outperform from Market Perform,

Hellenic Telecom (OTCMKTS:HLTOY): Shares are now Buy from Neutral at Citigroup.

Huntsman Corporation (NYSE:HUN): Jefferies juices the chemical company to Buy from Hold. Its price objective, previously $20, increases to $26.

Molina Healthcare (NYSE:MOH): MOH gets moved to Buy from Hold at Jefferies.

United Parcel Service (NYSE:UPS): Shares are upgraded to Overweight from Equal Weight by Barclays.

Western Union (NYSE:WU): Sterne Agee takes the money transfer titan to Buy from Neutral.

(See also: Stock Downgrades: Lady Luck Leaving Las Vegas Sands? and New Stock Coverage: Argentina Cries for Arcos Dorados.)
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