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Stock Upgrades: On Jimmy's Birthday, Buy Carter's

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

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If misery loves company, maybe Dow Jones (INDEXDJX:.DJI) and Bridget Jones would be better off together as Smug Marrieds, for each endured an awful Monday as Singletons. The failure of an 11th hour deal saw the government shut down at midnight and took equities down with it. Among stocks on the move, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) lost 1.24% ahead of an expensive lunch date between its CEO and Uncle Carl. (Clearly, such events can be burdened by too many Cooks.) On this, the birthday of our peanut farming president, one J.M. Smucker (NYSE:SJM) was on the menu, with that stock riding a broker boost to buck a bad tape and end up. Best to spare the Panera Bread (NASDAQ:PNRA) from those PB&J sandwiches, however. Its unloved stock shed $5.50, or a buck more than more its CEO is attempting to eat on. Meanwhile Cisco Systems (NASDAQ:CSCO) rose 0.43% - that and a dollar will get you an 80% pay raise.

Today in economics, a slippage is seen in both September's Institute for Supply Management's manufacturing index and August construction spending, each out at 10:00 a.m. Eastern. In earnings action, Actuant (NYSE:ATU), Global Payments (NYSE:GPN), Sonic Automotive (NYSE:SAH), and Walgreen (NYSE:WAG) are all due to report results.

AFLAC Inc. (NYSE:AFL): FBR Capital increases the insurance outfit famous for its currently-convalescing duck to Outperform from Market Perform on account of yen repatriation among other favorable factors. Its price objective, previously $60, goes to $71.

Airgas (NYSE:ARG): Global Hunter hoists the chemical company to Buy from Neutral and also takes its target price to $130 from $107.

BB&T Corporation (NYSE:BBT): The regional bank is raised to Outperform from Perform with a $40 objective at Oppenheimer, which sees headline risk abating.

Brookfield Office Properties (NYSE:BPO): Citigroup gives the stock, up sharply on Monday, an increase to Neutral from Sell.

Carter's, Inc. (NYSE:CRI): Just in time for Jimmy turning 89 today, Goldman gives his namesake company a Buy-from-Neutral boost.

Computer Task Group (NASDAQ:CTG): The information technology services stock gets raised to Buy from Neutral at B. Riley & Co.

Cree, Inc. (NASDAQ:CREE): Canaccord Genuity gives the light emitting diode (LED) firm a Buy-from-Hold hoist. Its objective also increases, to $80 from $65.

Deckers Outdoor (NASDAQ:DECK): The maker of Ugg boots is now Buy from Hold at Canaccord, which takes its target up by $25 to $80.

FirstEnergy (NYSE:FE): Jefferies juices the electric utility to Hold from Underperform and also increases its price objective to $36.50 from $33.50.

H&R Block (NYSE:HRB): The tax titan is showing strength this morning after Morgan Stanley moved its stock to Overweight from Equal-Weight. Affordable Care Act implementation is viewed as a catalyst for the company.

Nike (NYSE:NKE): Argus increases the sneaker stock and new Dow (INDEXDJX:.DJI) member, trading atop historic highs, to Buy from Hold.

Nokia (NYSE:NOK): Bank of America-Merrill Lynch adds the surging stock to its Most Preferred Tech List.

1-800-FLOWERS (NASDAQ:FLWS): Shares get upgraded to Buy from Hold by Brean Capital.

Portland General Electric (NYSE:POR): Deutsche Bank boosts the utility to Buy from Hold.

Stanley Black & Decker (NYSE:SWK): Longbow lifts the tool legend to Buy from Neutral.

T-Mobile US (NYSE:TMUS): The telecom name is taken to Outperform from Perform with a $32 target at Oppenheimer, which hails its improved postpaid churn trajectory.

Under Armour (NYSE:UA): JPMorgan moves the athletic apparel firm to Neutral from Underweight with an amended price objective of $77. Domestic footwear and womenswear are seen propelling sales, and the stock is up this morning as a result.

World Acceptance (NASDAQ:WRLD): Citing its improved fee structure, FBR Capital moves the credit services stock to Outperform from Market Perform and also takes the target price up by $15 to $105.

(See also: New Stock Coverage: E.T. Phone Home? No -- T.I. Call Rome! and Stock Downgrades: JC Penney Parties Like It's 1982.)
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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