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Stock Upgrades: Cash America Can Make You a Pawn Star

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

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September, what took you so long? Wall Street's historically single worst month of the year was, well, Fantastick, for much of 2013 but is now belatedly showing us its true colors. Stocks slumped for a fourth straight session on a day that saw some serious swoons. Utterly unloved Linux operating system seller Red Hat (NYSE:RHT) imploded an S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX)-worst 11.71%. Its inventor Linus Torvalds once said "Software is like sex: it's better when it's free" and at this rate the stock soon won't cost you anything, either. It was another torrid tape for big banks, with JPMorgan's (NYSE:JPM) 2.22% tumble leading Dow (INDEXDJX:.DJI) laggards and Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) following Monday's 2.1% drop with another down day. That Fairfield bandit who recently robbed both in one afternoon really owes Willie Sutton an apology. If he truly wanted to go "where the money" is, hometown hero General Electric (NYSE:GE) would have made a more logical target, with the blue chip gaining again amid much red ink elsewhere. Similarly surging was Sotheby's (NYSE:BID), which advanced 1.26% on an analyst upgrade. Mind you, considering the auction house sold $201 million of Damien Hirst's dubious "art" the very week Lehman went belly up, it's no surprise to see it thriving a full five years on. Ah, 2008. That increasingly distant era when those in charge of American International Group (NYSE:AIG) took the entire country for fools. Good thing those days are over, eh?

Today in economics, analysts anticipate an uptick in August new home sales at 10:00 a.m. Eastern. In earnings action, quarterly announcements are expected out of AutoZone (NYSE:AZO), Bed Bath & Beyond (NASDAQ:BBBY), and Jabil Circuit (NYSE:JBL).

Ascena Retail Group (NASDAQ:ASNA): The clothing company formerly known as Dress Barn is surging before the bell and moved to Market Perform from Underperform with an $18 price objective at FBR Capital.

Cash America International (NYSE:CSH): Sterne Agee increases the pawn lender to Neutral from Underperform.

CF Industries (NYSE:CF): The chemical stock is upgraded to Overweight from Neutral at Atlantic Equities.

CME Group (NASDAQ:CME): Keefe Bruyette boosts the exchange operator to Outperform from Perform and also takes its target up by $8 to $89.

Ctrip.com (NASDAQ:CTRP): Citing strong travel booking, Deutsche Bank hoists the stock to Buy from Hold. Its amended price objective is $65.

Duke Energy (NYSE:DUK): The electric utility is now Buy from Hold at Argus.

Infosys (NYSE:INFY): Robert W. Baird raises the Indian outsourcer to Outperform from Neutral with a $58 target amid an improving economic backdrop.

Intuitive Surgical (NASDAQ:ISRG): SunTrust adds the robotic instruments outfit to its Top Pick list.

Jabil Circuit (NYSE:JBL): JBL gets juiced to Strong Buy from Buy at Needham.

JAKKS Pacific (NASDAQ:JAKK): The toymaker gets taken to Hold from Underperform at Needham.

KB Home (NYSE:KBH): Shares get upgraded to Neutral from Cautious at ISI Group.

Nordstrom (NYSE:JWN): The luxury retailer is raised to Outperform from Neutral at Macquarie.

Red Robin Gourmet Burgers (NASDAQ:RRGB): Shares are now Neutral from Underweight at Piper Jaffray.

Ross Stores (NASDAQ:ROST): The stock is added to the Conviction Buy List at Goldman Sachs, which calls the company a "long-term disruptor."

Silver Spring Networks (NYSE:SSNI): Shares get upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Goldman Sachs.

(See also: Stock Downgrades: Carnival Corporation Is in Deep Ship and New Stock Coverage: Goldman Guarantees You're Going To Like Men's Wearhouse)
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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