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Stock Upgrades: Carnival Corporation Catches a Wave

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

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It's ironic but, on the day smartphones officially overtook their antediluvian equivalents, investors are increasingly hearing ominous echoes from a 26-year-old brick. (If it's any consolation, the more sensitive and ivory-tickling Gordon Gekko of 2013 did see Steinway Musical Instruments (LVB) surge some 7.89% in an otherwise terrible tape.) Yesterday was actually all about Rotary Clubs rather than rotary phones, with James Bullard's high noon address in Paducah, Kentucky setting the depressing tone for the Dow's (^DJI) first triple-digit decline since a late June swoon. Nine of 10 industry groups ended lower, with a barely-positive technology space the only exception, thanks mainly to a 1.82% advance in suddenly-resurgent Apple Inc. (AAPL). That said, if I were a state-of-the-art Silicon Valley outfit, I'd be a little worried that my main inspiration is currently coming from a 70-year old son of the South Bronx and a 77-year old from Brooklyn.

Today in economics, analysts forecast a fall in the August Philadelphia Fed Index at 10:00 a.m. Eastern. On the corporate front, expect earnings out of Applied Materials (AMAT), Briggs and Stratton (BGG), Estée Lauder (EL), Kohl's Corporation (KSS), Nordstrom (JWN), PetSmart (PETM), Red Robin Gourmet Burgers (RRGB), and Wal-Mart (WMT).

Akorn Inc. (AKRX): Gabelli gives the generic drug maker a Buy-from-Hold upgrade.

Baker Hughes (BHI): RBC Capital Markets boosts the oil services outfit to Outperform from Sector Perform.

Brasil Foods (BRFS): Shares are lifted to Buy from Neutral at Bank of America-Merrill Lynch.

Carnival Corporation (CCL): The cruise liner company gets a Buy-from-Neutral upgrade at Goldman Sachs on account of its conviction that earnings have already bottomed and all the bad news is essentially baked in to the share price at current levels.

Cisco Systems (CSCO): The Dow (^DJI) member, imploding about 8% this morning on its earnings miss, is however now Neutral from Cautious at ISI Group amid a more compelling valuation.

Integra (IART): Piper Jaffray juices its investment assessment to Overweight from Neutral.

JinkoSolar (JKS): The alternative energy outfit gets raised to Buy from Neutral at Roth Capital.

Martin Midstream (MMLP): MMLP is moved to Outperform from Market Perform at Raymond James

MDC Holdings (MDC): Sterne Agee raises the residential construction company to Buy from Neutral.

National Oilwell Varco (NOV): NOV is now Outperform from Sector Perform at RBC Capital.

Nautilus (NLS): The gym giant gets upgraded to Buy from Neutral at DA Davidson.

Nexstar (NXST): Evercore increases the TV broadcaster to Overweight from Equal Weight.

Old Mutual (ODMTY) JP Morgan moves the English financial firm to Overweight from Neutral.

SunTrust Banks (STI): The regional financial firm is hoisted to Buy from Hold at Drexel Hamilton.

The Medicines Company (MDCO): Shares are lifted to Buy from Neutral at Bank of America-Merrill Lynch.

(See also: New Stock Coverage: Sometimes, Money Talks In a Bazaarvoice Inc and Stock Downgrades: Smith & Wesson Holding Corp Can't Keep Up With the Joneses.)
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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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