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Stock Upgrades: Panera Bread Rolling in Dough


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

MINYANVILLE ORIGINAL The stock market enjoyed its best two-session rally for four weeks, and optimism is now spreading even to Athens. (Cynics say that an upgrade of Greece's credit rating is a sure fire sign of the Apocalypse, and indeed interestingly enough Hormel Foods, whose Spam is the exactly sort of food designed to survive Friday's Mayan end-of-days prophecy, hit the highest level in its entire history.)

Charlotte's own Bank of America (BAC) jumped 3.27% to top the Dow (^DJI), and those who view investing in bank stocks as one big casino could take some solace in fellow North Carolina native PokerTek (PTEK) surging 44.44% to best the Nasdaq (^IXIC). Hooker Furniture (HOFT) gained 1.55% to a fresh 52-week peak but Dominique Strauss-Kahn learned it's still hard out there for a pimp. Elsewhere FactSet Research Systems (FDS), provider of earnings estimates, fell 4.36% after its earnings missed estimates.

It's quite a light day in economic data, but quarterly earnings announcements are expected out of Accenture (ACN), Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY), FedEx (FDX), General Mills (GIS), Jabil Circuit (JBL), Navistar (NAV), and Paychex (PAYX).

Access Midstream Partners (ACMP): UBS lifts the limited partnership to Buy from Neutral.

Akzo Nobel (PINK:AKZOY): Shares are now Neutral from Sell at Citigroup.

Citigroup (C): Morgan Stanley, which was itself upgraded this morning, moves its fellow financial firm to Overweight from Equal-Weight.

Dunkin' Brands (DNKN): Shares are upgraded to Buy from Hold at Miller Tabak.

First American Financial (FAF): The stock is upgraded to Overweight from Equal Weight at Barclays.

Morgan Stanley (MS): MS is moved to Overweight from Equal Weight at Evercore.

Panera Bread (NASDAQ:PNRA) Shares are now Outperform from Neutral with Wedbush, whose channel checks indicate same-store sales are tracking at the high end of guidance. The target price is raised to $190 from $160.

Synaptics (SYNA): Impressed by both its expanding market share and strong product roster, JPMorgan moves the stock to Overweight from Neutral. The price objective is also increased, by $4.50 to $34.

Tech Stocks: Seagate (STX) and Western Digital (WDC) both get Buy-from-Hold hoists at boutique brokerage Craig Hallum. Each is up ahead of the open as a result.

(See also: New Stock Coverage: Charles Schwab Making Money Talk and Stock Downgrades: Plastic Not Fantastic for American Express.)
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