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Stock Upgrades: Starbucks Not Your Average Joe


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

MINYANVILLE ORIGINAL Shares snapped a two-session slump in some style after President Obama contended of our fiscal cliff, "We can probably solve this in about a week. It's not that tough," at a speech to the Business Roundtable. Not to be confused with the Algonquin Round Table, whose ringleader Dorothy Parker famously remarked "Ducking for apples - change one letter and it's the story of my life."

Apple (AAPL) stock certainly ended under water, slumping 6.64%. Ms. Parker also once said "Brevity is the soul of lingerie" but Victoria's Secret owner Limited Brands (LTD) bucked an otherwise up day and ended off 0.14% amid iffy analyst comments. "A hangover is the wrath of grapes" was another quotation attributed to the woman who liked her wit as dry as her martinis. With such an arch eye for irony, she will thus appreciate alcohol outfit Brown Forman (BF.B) hitting the highest level in its history on the very anniversary of Prohibition's repeal.

It's quite a quiet day in economic data but quarterly earnings announcements are expected out of Analogic (ALOG), Cooper Companies (COO), Esterline Technologies (ESL), H&R Block (HRB), Lululemon Athletica (LULU), Methode Electronics (MEI), Smithfield Foods (SFD), and Stein Mart (SMRT).

Canadian Pacific (CP): Stifel Nicolaus raises the railway to Buy from Hold. It is enthusiastic about the initiatives undertaken by the company's new CEO.

Chevron (CVX): Dahlman Rose hoists CVX to Buy from Hold after the oil giant and Dow (^DJI) component provided an update on its Gorgon LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) project in Australia.

EverBank Financial (EVER): Raymond James raises its recommendation to Strong Buy from Outperform due to positive operating leverage, and superior growth. The new increased price objective is $17.

Fastenal (FAST): Shares are moved to Outperform from Market Perform at William Blair, which says sales trends will stabilize in the coming months.

Mediaset (MDIUY): The stock is now Neutral from Sell at BNP Paribas.

Real Estate Investment Trusts: UBS gives Buy-from-Neutral boosts to Alexandria Real Estate (ARE), Apartment Investment & Management (AIV), Boston Properties (BXP), General Growth Properties (GGP), and Simon Property Group (SPG).

Southern Copper (SCCO): SCCO is now Buy from Neutral at Citigroup, which sees increased scarcity value for mining investors following Freeport McMoRan's (FCX) diversification plans.

Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX): The coffee company gets upgraded to Outperform from Neutral at Robert W. Baird, which also takes its target up by $7 to $62. The broker came away from yesterday's investor meeting with renewed confidence that impressive earnings momentum can continue over the next 12-24 months.

(See also: New Stock Coverage: Lions Gate a Paper Tiger? and Stock Downgrades: No Hollywood Ending for Netflix.)
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