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Stock Upgrades: Pandora Media Inc Is Music to Investors' Ears


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

Ah, sleepy old August, when everyone is at the beach and nothing ever happens. Apart, that is, from epic eruptions in Vesuvius and Krakatoa, the White House being burned to the ground in the War of 1812, the outbreak of World War I, Hitler becoming Germany's president, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Berlin Wall going up, Woodstock, Richard Nixon's resignation, the invasion of Kuwait, the end of Soviet Communism, S&P cutting America's debt rating, and the deaths of Marilyn, Elvis, and Diana. Truth be told, it has given us some of history's most momentous moments, and on Wall Street is the single worst month since 1987.

True to form, yesterday was anything but dull, although most investors would gladly welcome back boring after enduring the Dow's (^DJI) second straight triple-digit swan dive. Some shares did survive the carnage, with famous London lovebirds Liz Hurley and Hugh Grant among those able to enjoy the day. This, as lipstick stock Estée Lauder (EL), which long ago employed Elizabeth as a mouthpiece, jumped 3.42% and Mr. Grant's Monsanto (MON) gained 1.06%. (Sorry, wrong one.) Meanwhile Mr. Grant's fellow actor Jennifer Lawrence could, as ever, do no wrong, on what was her 23rd birthday. The Silver Linings Playbook star even has the Midas touch with the devil's metal, it seems, as the commodity surged for a seventh straight session. J-Law should enjoy America's adulation while it lasts, for as another thespian Anne Hathaway can attest, it never does.

Today in economics, analysts expect an improvement in the University of Michigan's preliminary August consumer sentiment survey at 9:55 a.m. Eastern. On the earnings front, Ann Inc. (ANN), A.P. Møller–Mærsk (AMKBY), Buckle (BKE), Enstar Group (ESGR), Foot Locker (FL), and Main Street Capital (MAIN) are all due to report results.

Anadarko Petroleum (APC): ISI Group gives the energy outfit a boost to Strong Buy from Buy.

Bayer (BAYRY): With the stock market suffering a severe headache of late, Barclays increases the Aspirin maker to Equal Weight from Underweight.

JetBlue Airways (JBLU): Some slight relief at the end of an awful week for the aviation industry? Today Raymond James raises its recommendation on the low cost carrier to Market Perform from Underperform.

Pandora Media Inc (P): The Internet radio outfit, already up 104.43% in the past year, is advancing another 8% ahead of the open after getting raised to Buy from Neutral at Goldman Sachs. Its price objective is $27. Goldman hails the company's growth in both subscription revenue and its mobile expansion, saying "We expect strong [Q2] results with top-line upside."

Xilinx (XLNX): Morgan Stanley takes the tech stock to Overweight from Equal-Weight.

(See also: Stock Downgrades: General Mills, Inc. Didn't Eat Its Wheaties and New Stock Coverage: Movado Group, Inc Has Time on Its Side.)
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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