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Stock Upgrades: Swim With the Sharks of Discovery Communications Inc.

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

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Most stocks were happy to hug the flatline ahead of the Fed, although hospital operator Health Management Associates (HMA) found itself in intensive care, tumbling 10.86% after receiving emergency room subpoenas from regulators. With markets going nowhere fast, luggage maker Tumi Holdings (TUMI) ended off 0.83% on an iffy analyst initiation. (A penny for the thoughts of that poor fellow who abandoned his bags at an airport instead of paying $1,400 in fees.) RR Donnelley (RRD), which blamed "human error" for last year's Google (GOOG) earnings fiasco, surged 16.49% to a fresh 52-week peak, while Staples (SPLS), which is more partial to robots, rose 2.24%. Elsewhere German consumer confidence hit a six-year high. Justin Bieber better watch out, for when the Teutons get cocky they tend not to monkey around.

Today in economic data, the July Chicago Purchasing Managers Index is expected to improve from the prior month's pace at 9:45 a.m. Eastern. The Federal Open Market Committee concludes its two-day policy meeting, with an interest rate announcement anticipated at 2:00 p.m. Eastern. On the earnings front, Allstate (ALL), Anheuser-Busch (BUD), BNP Paribas (BNPQY), CBS Corp (CBS), Comcast (CMCSA), MasterCard (MA), MetLife (MET), Volkswagen (VLKAY), Whole Foods (WFM), Honda (HMC), Sodastream (SODA), Dreamworks Animation (DWA), and Yelp Inc. (YELP) are all due to report results.

Alcatel-Lucent (ALU): Shares are now Buy from Neutral at Nomura, sending them up about 2% as I write.

Boyd Gaming (BYD): The casino company is boosted to Neutral from Underweight at JPMorgan.

Compass Minerals (CMP): JPMorgan moves the equity to Neutral from Underweight.

Comstock (CMK): Shares are increased to Accumulate from Neutral at Global Hunter Securities.

Discovery Communications Inc. (DISCA): With the broadcaster's annual Shark Week starting soon, Barrington boosts its shares to Outperform from Market Perform.

General Growth Properties (GGP): The Real Estate Investment Trust gets raised to Sector Perform from Underperform at RBC Capital.

Intersil (ISIL): The stock is increased to Buy from Hold at Needham, whose target price is $12. A robust consumer pipeline is seen propelling revenue in the third quarter.

Lin TV (TVL): TVL gets taken to Outperform from Market Perform with Wells Fargo.

MeadWestvaco (MWV): Shares are upgraded to Sector Perform from Underperform at RBC Capital.

Open Text (OTEX): Amid optimism over the company's fairly new management team, Benchmark gives its stock a Buy-from-Hold boost. Its price objective is $85.

Owens & Minor (OMI): Robert W. Baird raises its recommendation to Neutral from Underperform.

Symantec (SYMC): The stock, surging some 6% ahead of the open on impressive earnings, is now Outperform from Neutral at Robert W. Baird.

(See also: New Stock Coverage: Cloudy Outlook at Cablevision Systems Corporation and Stock Downgrades: Intrepid Potash, Inc. Goes to Pot.)
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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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