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Stock Upgrades: Twitter's Bluebird Is the Bee's Knees


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

Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) has endured a terrible time of late, but its stock is currently up 3.74% after scoring an analyst upgrade. The broker cites a product refresh, strong advertising environment, and compelling current valuation. Adding to the feel-good factor, the Financial Times recently highlighted Twitter's stellar growth in Asia.
S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) stocks surged to fresh bests as we witnessed all four seasons in a single day. On the unofficial first trading session of summer, Pilgrim's Pride (NASDAQ:PPC), up 1.67%, did indeed come before the fall in offering to buy Hillshire Brands (NYSE:HSH) for $6.4 billion. Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) gained 2.40% after its doodle honored the author of Silent Spring. And investors enjoyed a nuclear winter as Exelon (NYSE:EXC), America's largest atomic plant operator, jumped 3.60% in a suddenly sizzling utilities sector. Equities advanced after an unexpected increase in durable goods, defined as expensive items designed to last at least three years. (Cars, refrigerators, Kim Kardashian's wedding vows. Well, two out of three ain't bad, in the wise words of Meat Loaf.) Actually, I shouldn't be so cynical in matters matrimonial since Tiffany (NYSE:TIF) rose 1.38% to another record. Meat-dress-wearing Lady Gaga (not to mention Meat Loaf) would have especially enjoyed Tuesday's carnivorous corporate combinations. Unfortunately, the singer's "Bad Romance" more accurately summed up Pfizer's (NYSE:PFEunrequited long-distance relationship with England's AstraZeneca (NYSE:AZN). The Dow (INDEXDJX:.DJI) member hastily broke up with the British pharmaceutical firm over baby bok choy as its CEO -- speaking like a jilted lover -- told the Wall Street Journal that it was "moving on." It's clearly banking on heartburn to heal the heartbreak. And Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) rose 3.40%, or $0.50. Writing it that way just looks so much classier than saying "50 Cent," especially as the financial firm's advertising is emblazoned all over Yankee Stadium.
It's quite a quiet day in economic data, but expect quarterly earnings announcements out of Michael Kors (NYSE:KORS), Palo Alto Networks (NYSE:PANW), Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen (NASDAQ:PLKI), and Toll Brothers (NYSE:TOL).
Now let's analyze this morning's upgrades, a group encompassing the owner of Pottery Barn as well as our aforementioned Twitter.

AXA SA (OTCMKTS:AXAHY): Shares get an unusual 180-degree (Outperform from Underperform) increase at Mediobanca.
ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP): Guggenheim gives the oil giant a Buy-from-Neutral upgrade. Its price target is also taken up, to $90 from $82.
Dreamworks Animation (NASDAQ:DWA): Topeka Capital Markets takes the stock to Hold from Sell. Its price objective, previously $22, increases to $25.
FormFactor (NASDAQ:FORM): Shares, which jumped 3.03% yesterday, are advancing another 8.17% before the bell. Today it's boosted to Buy from Neutral at B. Riley & Co.
London Stock Exchange (OTCMKTS:LDNXF): Credit Suisse adds the exchange operator to its Focus List of favored equities.
The Pantry (NASDAQ:PTRY): The stock is now Outperform from Neutral at Macquarie.
Telecom Italia (NYSE:TI): Goldman Sachs adds the equity to its list of Conviction Buys, sending it up in today's European trading.
Twitter: Today's headline upgrade gets a Buy-from-Neutral boost at Nomura.
Vince Holding (NYSE:VNCE): KeyBanc Capital raises its recommendation to Buy from Hold.
Williams-Sonoma (NYSE:WSM): The Pottery Barn owner gets upgraded to Overweight from Neutral at Piper Jaffray, which hails its "tech-savvy initiatives."

Also see:

New Stock Coverage: Pfizer Profits From Purple Pill Poppers

Stock Downgrades: Lowe's Left High and Dry
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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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