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Stock Upgrades: Red Robin a Far Better Bet Than Twitter

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

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Birthday boy William Shakespeare once warned us that "There is divine providence in the fall of a sparrow." What on Earth, then, would the Bard make of Twitter's Mountain Bluebird causing stocks to briefly slide off a cliff? Indeed it was a decidedly difficult day for our feathered friends, what with avian flu concerns causing Kentucky Fried Chicken owner Yum Brands (YUM) to drop 1.70%.

Back on terra firma, although anything but earthbound, Coach (COH) jumped 9.80% to put it in the leading pack of all S&P 500 (^GSPC) issues. Pointedly, however, it was the high heels of its new footwear line, and not the company's iconic handbags, that sent the stock surging and sees it score an upgrade this morning. As Ms. Bradshaw can attest from all those years in blingy Manolo Blahniks, getting Carried away on such items can result in some painful soul searching later on.

Hump Day of peak earnings week is upon us with Aflac (AFL), Barclays (BCS), Boeing (BA), Credit Suisse (CS), Eli Lilly (LLY), Ford (F), France Telecom (FTE), GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), Nintendo (NTDOY), Procter & Gamble (PG), Sprint Nextel (S), Qualcomm (QCOM), and Zynga (ZNGA) among a multitude of companies releasing results.

Ares Capital (ARCC): JPMorgan moves the equity to Overweight from Neutral.

AXA Group (PINK:AXAHY): Shares in the French insurance firm are up sharply in today's European trading after Citigroup added it to their Europe Focus List of favored equities.

Baker Hughes (BHI): The oil services outfit gets an Outperform-from-Neutral boost by Credit Suisse.

Coach (COH): Tuesday's high flier is today taken to upgraded to Buy from Outperform at Crédit Agricole.

CIT Group (CIT): Oppenheimer increases its investment opinion to Outperform from Perform.

Deutsche Post (PINK:DPSGY): JPMorgan moves the equity to Overweight from Neutral, sending it sharply higher in Frankfurt this morning. An increasingly attractive valuation, having lagged the market of late, is the key reason cited.

EBay Inc. (EBAY): Wells Fargo raises its recommendation to Outperform from Market Perform amid impressive growth from its PayPal unit.

Halliburton (HAL): The oil services outfit gets a Buy-from-Hold boost at Société Générale.

ITT Educational Services (ESI): Shares are hoisted to Hold from Sell at Deutsche Bank.

Packaging Corporation of America (PKG): BMO Capital moves the paper products powerhouse to Outperform from Market Perform.

Red Robin Gourmet Burgers (NASDAQ:RRGB): The fast food firm gets raised to Buy from Hold at KeyBanc.

Ryder System (R): The stock gets upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform with Wells, which believes Tuesday's 6.91% tumble provides investors with an attractive entry point. Accordingly, shares are rebounding somewhat ahead of the open.

(See also: New Stock Coverage: Bulls Run on Matador Resources and Stock Downgrades: Apple Gets Totally Turned Over)
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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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