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Stock Upgrades: Hormel Foods Corporation Will Make You Like Spamalot

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

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On July 11, 7-Eleven's free Slurpees couldn't hold a candle to the Fed's free-money sugar rush. The Dow (^DJI) rose to a new historic high on a day Wall Street's animal spirits were truly unleashed. Bears weren't invited but there were lions - Lions Gate (LGF) took its 12-month increase to 124.24% in hitting a new all-time best - and paper tigers, and bulls, oh my! Blue chips gained exactly 1.11% but one is anything but the loneliest number in technology. Ever since Marissa Mayer adopted a telecommuting ban by saying "we need to become one Yahoo (YHOO)" that surging stock has become an analyst darling and obviously inspired Mister Softee, which jumped 2.84% after its CEO revealed its intention to become "one Microsoft (MSFT)." Meanwhile Netflix (NFLX) continues its love affair with correctional facilities, unveiling its new prison drama yesterday and making encouraging noises about Arrested Development this morning. No correction in sight for the stock however, which has now surged some 199.08% in the past year.

Today in economics, analysts forecast that the University of Michigan's first take on July consumer confidence will tick up from the final figure for June at 9:55 a.m. Eastern. On the earnings front, announcements are expected out of Infosys (INFY), JP Morgan (JPM), Ocean Power Technologies (OPTT), and Wells Fargo (WFC).

Alpha Natural Resources (ANR): The coal company is boosted to Buy from Hold at Deutsche Bank.

Franklin Resources (BEN): Susquehanna moves the money manager to Positive from Neutral.

Canadian National Railway (CNI): Shares are upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform by BMO Capital Markets.

F5 Networks (FFIV): Piper Jaffray juices its opinion to Overweight from Equal Weight.

Hormel Foods Corporation (HRL): The maker of Skippy peanut butter and Spam canned meat, which inspired a Monty Python musical, is moved to Outperform from Market Perform by BMO Capital Markets.

LG Display (LPL): LPL gets a Market Perform-from-Underperform lift by Sanford Bernstein.

Prudential (PUK): The British insurance outfit - an entity distinct from America's Prudential (PRU) - is higher in today's London trading on the back of an upgrade to Buy from Reduce at Nomura.

Quality Systems (QSII): Citing better bookings ahead, allied to the prospect of greater investor activism, Robert W. Baird raises its recommendation to Outperform from Neutral. Its price objective, previously $18, increases to $26.

Regeneron Pharmaceuticals (REGN): Lazard lifts the stock to Buy from Neutral.

Teledyne Technologies (TDY): TDY gets taken to Buy from Hold at Drexel Hamilton.

Valeo (VLEEY): HSBC Securities hoists the French firm to Neutral from Buy.

Wendy's (WEN): The fast food firm is increased to Outperform from Market Perform by BMO Capital.

Xilinx (XLNX): The tech stock gets taken to Buy from Neutral at Citigroup.

(See also: New Stock Coverage: OpenTable Inc Told to Sit in the Corner and Stock Downgrades: From 42nd Street, Pfizer Inc. Fumes at Wall Street.)
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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