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Stock Upgrades: Buy Smucker Ahead of Washington Logjam

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

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A week dominated by Dr. Dre and Dr. Seuss and Dr. Doom saw equities unable to get out of the sickbed, with Congressional gridlock condemning the Dow (INDEXDJX:.DJI) to a 1.25% drop. As Saturday Night Live returned to our TV screens, JC Penney (NYSE:JCP) plunged 30.2% in its worst week ever after announcing Dennis Miller would temporarily take charge of its accounting. Admittedly, this Dennis Miller, not that one, but as Hillary might say, "What difference, at this point, does it make?" During the trial of the century in 1995, the comedian memorably called O.J. Simpson's alibi "shakier than Katharine Hepburn's head in a helicopter" and Hertz (NYSE:HTZ) - which fell on the week 14.1% - is still suffering guilt by association.

Ms. Hepburn's fellow Connecticut blue blood Martha Stewart, meanwhile, raged against Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) for failing to swiftly fix her iPad. Maybe that BBC presenter who mistook his for a wad of paper was on to something, especially after twin tree-killers Office Depot (NYSE:ODP) and OfficeMax (NYSE:OMX) rose a respective 10.77% and 11.26%. And an overture to Iran resulted in its returning president being pelted with eggs (Green, presumably. Or perhaps the soft shell offerings of America's biggest egg producer Cal-Maine Foods (NASDAQ:CALM), which missed earnings estimates by some $0.13 earlier this morning.)

Today in economics, analysts expect an uptick in September's Purchasing Managers' Index at 9:45 a.m Eastern. On the corporate front, Diamond Foods (NASDAQ:DMND), GenCorp (NYSE:GY), Paychex (NASDAQ:PAYX), and Park Electrochemical (NYSE:PKE) are all due to release quarterly results.

Accenture (NYSE:ACN): The consulting company gets upgraded to Hold from Sell at Société Générale. Its price objective, previously $70, increases to $75.

Air France-KLM (OTCMKTS:AFLYY): HSBC Securities hoists the stock to Overweight from Neutral.

Ariad Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:ARIA): Pointing to the company's impressive pipeline, particularly as regards the crizotinib-refractory setting, Oppenheimer increases its investment assessment to Outperform from Perform and also takes its target price up by $1 to $24.

Banco Santander Brasil (NYSE:BSBR): Citigroup raises its recommendation to Neutral from Sell.

BlackBerry (NASDAQ:BBRY): Shares are boosted to Market Perform from Underperform by Sanford Bernstein.

Chipotle Mexican Grill (NYSE:CMG): Morgan Stanley moves the fast food firm to Overweight from Equal-Weight.

Chuy's Holdings (NASDAQ:CHUY): The Tex-Mex restaurant operator is upgraded to Outperform from Neutral at Robert W. Baird.

CIT Group (NYSE:CIT): Janney juices its fellow financial firm to Buy from Neutral. The price objective, previously $52, is now $58.

Colgate-Palmolive (NYSE:CL): Morgan Stanley moves the consumer products giant to Overweight from Equal Weight, citing its prospects for good sales growth.

Enduro Royalty Trust (NYSE:NDRO): Shares are raised to Neutral from Underperform by Robert W. Baird.

J.M. Smucker (NYSE:SJM): The peanut butter powerhouse, whose other brands include Jif, is now Buy from Neutral at Citigroup. Price deflation next year augurs well for the stock, in the bank's estimation.

Marathon Oil (NYSE:MRO): Argus upgrades the energy outfit to Buy from Hold.

Shire plc (NASDAQ:SHPG): JPMorgan boosts the biopharmaceutical firm to Overweight from Neutral, sending it up in today's overseas trading.

Spansion (NYSE:CODE): The semiconductor stock is increased to Overweight from Equal Weight by Barclays.

Telecom Italia (NYSE:TI): TI is taken to Neutral from Underweight at JP Morgan.

William Hill (OTCMKTS:WIMHY): The British bookmaker, whose arch rival Ladbrokes (OTCMKTS:LDBKY) imploded 11% last week, is trading higher in London today after being boosted to Buy from Hold at Deutsche Bank.

Xilinx (NASDAQ:XLNX): Pacific Crest takes the tech stock to Outperform from Sector Perform.

(See also: New Stock Coverage: Go the Extra Miley With CyrusOne and Stock Downgrades: Panera, Done Breaking Bread, Now Breaking Bad.)

Disclosure: Minyanville Studios, a division of Minyanville Media, has a business relationship with BlackBerry.
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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