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Stock Upgrades: Pandora Dials Back Radio's Glory Days

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

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On this very day in 1922, a magazine remarked that "The rate of increase in the number who spend at least part of an evening listening to radio is almost incomprehensible." Internet radio firm Pandora Media (NYSE:P), surging some 4.64% before the bell, appears poised to relive a little of the Roaring Twenties today. Its shares have been rocky recently in tandem with many other momentum names, but, with Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iTunes Radio off to a distinctly underwhelming start as people increasingly ditch downloads for streaming, an analyst feels that Pandora is poised for a fresh growth spurt. Targeted advertising is viewed as a key share price catalyst.
 
Bubba may want to slit Blankfein's throat, but the Dow (INDEXDJX:.DJI) -- ably assisted by Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) -- continues to make money talk. Blue chips finished at a record high on Friday as Mr. Market brought back memories of the Clinton boom. Indeed, echoes of Slick Willie were everywhere last week as the world's most infamous intern reemerged from a 16-year hiatus on the pages of Vanity Fair. Viagra was, in a you-can't-make-this-up coincidence, approved in the very same quarter that our 42nd president's libido got him into so much trouble. The blue pill is now not nearly as profitable as it once was for Pfizer (NYSE:PFE), hence its bid for England's AstraZeneca (NYSE:AZN) that has Britain's finance minister prepared for "hard negotiation." Alas, many months of such negotiations failed to save another transatlantic merger as the Mad Men of Omnicom (NYSE:OMC) and Publicis (OTCMKTS:PUBGY) -- each downgraded this morning -- called off their $35 billion combination. Chalk another one up to the cover curse, with John Hamm's appearance on the front page of, yes, Vanity Fair, spectacularly failing to bring home the bacon. In fact, the industry's malaise even extended to its digital offerings, as an unloved Rocket Fuel (NASDAQ:FUEL) just tumbled 21.50% to a lifetime low.
 
It's quite a quiet day in economic data, but Elizabeth Arden (NASDAQ:RDEN), McKesson (NYSE:MCK), and Rackspace (NYSE:RAX) are all due to release quarterly results.
 
Now let's analyze this morning's upgrades, a group that encompasses not only our aforementioned Pandora Media but also the world's largest maker of computer mice.

Actavis (NYSE:ACT): Shares get upgraded to Top Pick from Outperform at RBC Capital, which also increases its price objective by $7 to $259 amid a compelling current valuation.
 
Boulder Brands (NASDAQ:BDBD): SunTrust takes the stock to Buy from Neutral.
 
Forest Oil (NYSE:FST): The equity, a stellar recent performer, is now Neutral from Underperform at Macquarie.
 
Hilton Worldwide (NYSE:HLT): UBS increases the accommodation outfit to Buy from Neutral. Its price objective, previously $23, is taken to $26.
 
Iridium (NASDAQ:IRDM): Macquarie moves the satellite stock to Outperform from Neutral.
 
Logitech (NASDAQ:LOGI): The computer mouse maker is showing strength in today's European trading after getting taken to Outperform from Neutral at Credit Suisse. Profit projections are seen as overly conservative.
 
M&T Bank (MTB): Goldman Sachs gives the stock an upgrade to Buy from Neutral. Its target price is also taken up, to $145 from $128.
 
PacWest Bancorp (PACW): Shares get upgraded to Outperform from Perform with a $47 target at FBR Capital, which is impressed with its recent acquisition activity.
 
Pandora Media: MKM Partners moves today's headline stock to Buy from Neutral this morning. Its amended target is $32.
 
Peabody Energy (NYSE:BTU): The commodity company gets upgraded to Overweight from Equal-Weight at Morgan Stanley.
 
Rio Tinto (OTCMKTS:RTP): Staying with the House of Morgan, JPMorgan adds this stock to its European Focus List.
 
Travelers (NYSE:TRV): The Dow member gets upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Guggenheim.
 
Twitter (NYSE:TWTR): Another upgrade for the social networking name, showing strength before the bell on a Buy-from-Neutral boost at SunTrust.

Also see:

New Stock Coverage: Playing Monday Morning Quarterback With Sportsman's Warehouse

Stock Downgrades: Omnicom and Publicis Fall to Earth Faster Than Don Draper
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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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