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Stock Upgrades: Rubicon Restores Pride to Los Angeles


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

The despondent LA Clippers and their ostracized owner continue to suck up all the oxygen, but there's brighter news elsewhere in the city of smog. Shares in hometown hero The Rubicon Project (NYSE:RUBI), an online advertising technology outfit, are surging some 21.81% before the bell. Rubicon just reported its first earnings as a public company, and the results were extremely well received. Equity analysts are subsequently praising the firm's pricing power and attractive stock price that trades at a 48% discount to competitors on an enterprise value/sales basis.
It was just this January that the "Fragile Five" in emerging markets had investors petrified we were about to relive 1997. Yesterday, the Dow's (INDEXDJX:.DJI) first five-session advance of the year sent it to a fresh best after an advance of, yes, 19.97. The S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) joined blue chips in record territory, leaving Nasdaq (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) as the odd man out. (For this we can blame the dude in a blue dress, as the tech-heavy index ended off as ABN AMRO rang Tuesday's closing bell.) On a decent day for beverage stocks, Dr Pepper Snapple (NYSE:DPS) hit an historic high -- and that's a factKeurig Green Mountain (NASDAQ:GMCR) surged 7.55%, its stock on fire after inking an agreement with Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO). Alas, Coke can no longer supply flame retardant, for it swore off the stuff along with PepsiCo (NYSE:PEP). How the latter's Michael Jackson could have used some when shooting his soda commercial in early 1984. Later that same year -- on this very day three decades ago, in fact -- the King of Pop visited the White House. Another notable event that occurred exactly 30 years ago was Mark Zuckerberg's birthday. Unfortunately, Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) didn't exactly party, like it was -- well, you know -- and ended exactly unchanged.
There aren't any top-tier economic data due today, but quarterly earnings announcements include Agilent (NYSE:A), Cisco Systems (NASDAQ:CSCO), Deere (NYSE:DE), Macy's (NYSE:M), Plug Power (NASDAQ:PLUG), SeaWorld (NYSE:SEAS), Sodastream (NASDAQ:SODA), and Sony (NYSE:SNE).
Now let's analyze this morning's upgrades, a group that encompasses not only our aforementioned Rubicon Project but also a resurgent online ratio outfit.

Akamai Technologies (NASDAQ:AKAM): Pacific Crest increases AKAM to Outperform from Sector Perform.
Autodesk (NASDAQ:ADSK): Shares get upgraded to Buy from Hold at Canaccord Genuity.
Harmony Gold Mining (NYSE:HMY): JPMorgan moves the commodity company to Overweight from Neutral.
Lear Corp (NYSE:LEA): LEA is lifted to Buy from Hold at Deutsche Bank. Its price objective, previously $95, is now $100.
MannKind (NASDAQ:MNKD): The stock is increased to Neutral from Underweight at Piper Jaffray, sending it up impressively ahead of the opening bell.
Pandora Media (NYSE:P): Didn't we just do this? Pandora, back in favor in a big way this week, gets boosted to Outperform from Market Perform at Raymond James.
Royal Caribbean (NYSE:RCL): SunTrust takes the cruise company to Buy from Neutral.
Rubicon Project: Today's headline equity is raised by both Oppenheimer (Outperform from Perform) and RBC Capital (Outperform from Sector Perform.) Their refreshed price objectives are, respectively, $18 and $19.
Summit Hotel (NYSE:INN): Shares are hoisted to Outperform from Sector Perform at RBC Capital, whose target price also increases by $1 to $11. External growth and acquisition prospects fuel the broker's increased optimism.
Tandem Diabetes Care (NASDAQ:TNDM): Deutsche Bank takes TNDM to Buy from Hold.
TomTom (OTCMKTS:TMOAY): Morgan Stanley moves the European stock to Equal-Weight from Underweight.
ThyssenKrupp (OTCMKTS:TYEKF): The German industrial giant is now Neutral from Sell at Citigroup.
Western Digital (NASDAQ:WDC): Barclays increases its investment assessment to Overweight from Equal Weight.
Zimmer Holdings (NYSE:ZMH): The medical device maker gets moved to Buy from Hold at Needham, whose Orthopedic Surgeon Survey sees market share gains.

Also see:

New Stock Coverage: IMS Health Holdings Has Prescription for Profit

Stock Downgrades: Teekay Tankers Set to Sink
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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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