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Stock Upgrades: Days of Wine and Roses at Constellation Brands

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

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Wall Street's age-old advice to "buy Rosh Hashanah" proved profitable once more as Wall Street partied like it was 1899, the last time the Jewish New Year arrived this early on the Western calendar. The S&P 500 Index (INDEXSP:.INX) thus scored its third successive increase to start September, although an ominous spike in 10-year Treasury (^AXTEN) yields suggests more difficult days lie ahead. Indeed it was a bad day for Bonds all around, with the original 007 leaving Queens shaken, not stirred, after seeing his fellow Scotsman exit the ever-popular US Open early. Should Sean Connery, in his inimitable Edinburgh accent wish to forsake Scots whisky, he could do worse than order up a wee dram of the world's largest winemaker Constellation Brands, Inc. (NYSE:STZ), which yesterday took its 12-month surge to 70.45% in hitting an historic high.

Today's quarterly earnings announcements are expected to include Layne Christensen (NASDAQ:LAYN), Mattress Firm Holding (NASDAQ:MFRM), Smithfield Foods (NYSE:SFD), and UTi Worldwide (NASDAQ:UTIW).

Associated British Foods (OTCMKTS:ASBFY): Shares are upgraded to Hold from Sell at Société Générale.

Constellation Brands, Inc. (NYSE:STZ): Bank of America-Merrill Lynch lifts the world's largest winemaker, which hit an all-time high yesterday, to Buy from Neutral.

Diageo plc (NYSE:DEO): The world's biggest spirits maker, whose brands include Guinness and Johnnie Walker, is trading higher in London today after Citigroup transitioned analyst coverage with a Buy, up from its prior Neutral assessment.

eBay Inc (NASDAQ:EBAY): Robert W. Baird raises the online auctioneer to Outperform from Neutral.

Ericsson (NASDAQ:ERIC): The Swedish telecom titan is showing strength in today's European trading after being taken to Outperform from Neutral at Credit Suisse, which sees accelerating growth in wireless-infrastructure as a catalyst.

E TRADE Financial (NASDAQ:ETFC): Shares get upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Goldman Sachs.

Five Below (NASDAQ:FIVE): UBS increases the clothing company to Buy from Neutral.

KeyCorp (NYSE:KEY): Credit Suisse moves the money center bank to Outperform from Neutral.

Korn/Ferry International (NYSE:KFY): The stock is now Outperform from Neutral at Robert W. Baird, which also increases its price objective by $4 to $24 amid an earnings stabilization.

Moody's (NYSE:MCO): Lazard lifts the stock to Buy from Neutral.

Oasis Petroleum (NYSE:OAS): Deutsche Bank hoists the energy outfit to Buy from Hold.

Siemens (NYSE:SI): The German industrial giant gets upgraded to Buy from Hold at Société Générale.

Skullcandy (NASDAQ:SKUL): Raymond James raises its recommendation to Market Perform from Underperform.

Sonova (OTCMKTS:SONVY): Shares of the world's largest hearing aid maker are surging overseas this morning on an upgrade to Buy from Neutral at UBS, which praises its prospects in the ocular implant arena.

Stryker (NYSE:SYK): The medical device maker is now Outperform from Neutral at Credit Suisse.

SunTrust Banks (NYSE:STI): STI is taken to Buy from Hold at Deutsche Bank.

T-Mobile US (NYSE:TMUS): William Blair boosts the telecom firm to Outperform from Market Perform.

VeriFone (NYSE:PAY): Shares are now Outperform from Neutral with Wedbush.

(See also: Stock Downgrades: Mannkind Suffers the Cruelest Cut and New Stock Coverage: Don't Be a Jerk - Buy BMW.)
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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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