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Stock Upgrades: Pucker Up to Estee Lauder


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

Despite a brief wobble on Friday emanating from the G-20 gathering in that erstwhile Communist heartland of St Petersburg, capitalism regained center stage last week. (To be fair, it was also good to be Cuban, with Maverick Mark seeing his stake in J.C. Penney (NYSE:JCP) jump 14.35%. Castro? Not so much, at least if you Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO)). Away from Mother Russia, Americans are having babies again and the tiny tots of E TRADE (NASDAQ:ETFC) saw that stock surge 13.21% after their banking subsidiary paid a $100 million dividend to its parent company. (It always pays to be nice to mom and dad, kids.)

Equities advanced on Labor Day week despite the labor force participation rate falling to its lowest level since 1978. Yet "jobs" is not the four-letter word du jour; "porn" is. That poor industry is being blamed for anemic employment growth in August, this despite the release of a love letter to Linda Lovelace last month, and the casting having just been announced for 50 Shades of Grey. Marissa Mayer has always been more of a 41 shades of blue kinda gal, a color she should surely stick to after last week's lukewarm response to the company's new-old purple logo.

Today in economics, analysts call for a contraction in July consumer credit at 3:00 p.m. Eastern. In earnings action, Hovnanian Enterprises (NYSE:HOV), Palo Alto Networks (NASDAQ:PANW), Pep Boys-Manny, Moe & Jack (NYSE:PBY), and PVH Corp (NYSE:PVH) are all due to report results.

Baker Hughes (NYSE:BHI): The oil services outfit gets an Outperform-from-Market Perform boost with Wells Fargo.

Brocade (NADAQ:BRCD): RBC Capital Markets takes the tech stock to Outperform from Sector Perform.

British American Tobacco (NYSEMKT:BTI): Shares are lifted to Buy from Neutral at Bank of America-Merrill Lynch.

Eaton (NYSE:ETN): The electronics firm is moved to Overweight from Equal-Weight at Morgan Stanley.

EOG Resources (NYSE:EOG): The independent oil and gas company is increased to Overweight from Equal-Weight at Morgan Stanley.

Estèe Lauder Companies Inc (NYSE:EL): Citigroup gives a Buy-from-Neutral boost to the cosmetics company, whose myriad other brands include Aveda, Aramis, and Clinique.

Expedia (NASDAQ:EXPE): Lazard lifts the online travel titan to Buy from Neutral amid optimism over its strategic alliance with Travelocity.

LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton (OTCMKTS:LVMUY): Shares of the French luxury goods firm are now Outperform from Neutral at BNP Paribas.

Micron (NASDAQ:MU): Susquehanna takes the tech name to Neutral from Negative.

Munich Re (OTCMKTS:MURGY): The German insurance giant is showing strength in today's European trading after getting taken to Buy from Neutral at Bank of America-Merrill.

Nanometrics (NASDAQ:NANO): Shares are now Overweight from Neutral at Piper Jaffray.

NetApp (NASDAQ:NTAP): UBS increases its investment opinion to Buy from Neutral.

Open Text (NASDAQ:OTEX): The equity is hoisted to Buy from Hold at Paradigm Capital.

Quiksilver (NYSE:ZQK): The recently-surging stock gets raised to Outperform from Neutral by Credit Suisse.

TreeHouse Foods (NYSE:THS): THS is taken to Buy from Hold at BB&T Capital Markets.

(See also: Stock Downgrades: Not Even John Stamos Can Save Danone and New Stock Coverage: Downward Dog Days Are Over at Lululemon.)
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