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Stock Upgrades: Church & Dwight Provides Portfolio Protection

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

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Half a decade to the day after Lehman employees tearfully exited under a barrage of boxes, noted box maker Boise Inc. (NYSE:BZ) advanced 26.10% to top the entire NYSE. Maybe that Communist comedian (Karl, not Groucho) was right in suggesting history follows a predicable pattern of tragedy first, farce second. Domino's Pizza (NYSE:DPZ), up 93.91% in 12 months, hit the highest level in its history. A poignant reminder that, while you can be sent to the slammer for life if you steal a slice, no executive has yet done a day's jail time for the events of 2008. If burgers and fries are more your thing, Buenos Aires-based Arcos Dorados (NYSE:ARCO) - which operates over 1,800 McDonald's (NYSE:MCD) restaurants in Latin America - received an analyst initiation. Shares, which have slumped in the past year, rose 3.55% despite the researcher's Hold-rating, suggesting a range-bound stock. If that seems all over map, remember that as the old expression says, "Argentineans are Italians who speak Spanish and want to be British."

Today in Washington, DC, the Federal Open Market Committee starts its two-day policy meeting on interest rates. In earnings action, Adobe Systems (NASDAQ:ADBE), Coty Inc. (NYSE:COTY), FactSet Research Systems (NYSE:FDS), and Prada (OTCMKTS:PRDSY) are all expected to release results.

Airlines: JPMorgan gives Overweight-from-Neutral ratings increases to both a recently-resurgent Delta (NYSE:DAL) and US Airways (NYSE:LCC). Better margins are among the catalysts and shares are, accordingly, trading higher ahead of this morning's opening bell.

American States Water (NYSE:AWR): Brean Capital hoists the stock to Buy from Hold with a $28 target price amid ample free cash flow and the prospect of dividend increases.

Apache Corp (NYSE:APA): Amid an improvement in the company's Egyptian situation, Oppenheimer increases its investment assessment to Outperform from Perform with a $100 price objective.

Broadcom (NASDAQ:BRCM): Susquehanna takes the tech stock to Positive from Neutral.

Chico's FAS (NYSE:CHS): The clothing company is moved to Buy from Hold at KeyBanc Capital Markets.

Church & Dwight Co., Inc. (NYSE:CHD): The company, which makes Trojan condoms, gets upgraded to Buy from Hold at Deutsche Bank.

Deutsche Bank (NYSE:DB): Shares are now Buy from Neutral at UBS.

Guidance Software (NASDAQ:GUID): Pointing to an improved risk/reward profile, Benchmark boosts the stock to Hold from Sell.

Mead Johnson Nutrition (NYSE:MJN): JPMorgan moves the equity to Overweight from Neutral, taking its target price up by $10 to $88.

Public Service Enterprise (NYSE:PEG): Jefferies juices the utility to Buy from Hold and also increases its price objective by $1 to $37.

Regional Banks: BB&T Corp (NYSE:BBT) gets upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Goldman Sachs, which takes Comerica (NYSE:CMA) to Neutral from Sell (target now $42 from $38.)

Sohu.com (NASDAQ:SOHU): Goldman Sachs gives the Chinese Internet outfit an upgrade to Conviction Buy from Neutral.

Umpqua Holdings (NASDAQ:UMPQ): The financial firm is now Neutral from Underperform at Credit Suisse.

Unicredit S.p.A (OTCMKTS:UNCFF): Société Générale upgrades the Italian outfit to Buy from Hold.

Verizon (NYSE:VZ): Another day, another upgrade for the key Dow (INDEXDJX:.DJI) component, which RBC Capital Markets moves to Outperform from Sector Perform this morning.

Volcano Corp (NASDAQ:VOLC): BMO Capital moves the medical appliance outfit to Outperform from Market Perform.

(See also: New Stock Coverage: 3D Systems Second to None and Stock Downgrades: Fifth Third Is at Sixes and Sevens.)
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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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