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Stock Upgrades: Verizon Is Moving On Uptown


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

For the first time in September, Mister Market was left abandoned at the altar by Lady Luck. (Even if, as this month enters middle age, it is increasingly difficult to tell the twain apart.) The S&P 500 Index (INDEXSP:.INX) snapped its winning streak on a day both genders had a say. Yoga apparel maker Lululemon (NASDAQ:LULU), whose transparent pants issue in the spring may have been an ingenious attempt to attract more males to a predominately female discipline, fell 5.40%. This as Men's Wearhouse (NYSE:MW), whose sluggishness in selling to half the human race is clearly costing it business, tumbled an NYSE-worst 12.10%. The company, today of all days, is blaming the number 13 for its awful earnings. JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM), which dropped 1.92% in posting the Dow's (INDEXDJX:.DJI) poorest performance, knows all about triskaidekaphobia. Remarkably, three times last year it released results on Friday the 13th, most memorably with the tale of the "teapot tempest" in April. Mercifully, the London Whale appears not to have inflicted any collateral damage on Shamu, whose SeaWorld (NYSE:SEAS) surged 7.64%.

Today in economics, the preliminary Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan September consumer sentiment survey is out at 9:55 a.m. Eastern, and July business inventories follow at 10:00 a.m. On the corporate front, Pier 1 Imports (NYSE:PIR) is the pick of quarterly earnings announcements.

Chesapeake Utilities (NYSE:CPK): Shares are upgraded to Buy from Hold at Brean Capital, whose price objective is $58.

Commercial Metals (NYSECMC): The stock is now Neutral from Underperform at Bank of America-Merrill Lynch.

Finish Line (NASDAQ:FINL): FINL is upgraded to Neutral from Underweight at Piper Jaffray.

Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC): The Dow (INDEXDJX:.DJI) component is trading higher today after getting upgraded to Buy from Hold at Jefferies, which takes its target to $30 from $27. Better, and cheaper, chips are seen as a catalyst.

Lululemon Athletica (NASDAQ:LULU): LULU is lifted to Outperform from Neutral at Credit Suisse.

Managed Care Companies: Aetna (NYSE:AET) is now Buy from Neutral at Bank of America-Merrill Lynch, which lifts WellPoint (NYSE:WLP) to Neutral from Underperform.

MGM Resorts (NYSE:MGM): Shares are moved to Buy from Hold at Argus, whose target is $23. Earnings in Las Vegas are seen as increasing.

Safeway (NYSE:SWY): The grocer gets upgraded to Outperform from Neutral at Credit Suisse.

Verizon (NYSE:VZ): The Dow component, which is moving its New York City headquarters uptown, is increased to Overweight from Equal-Weight at Evercore. Its recent Vodafone (NASDAQ:VOD) deal is seen as a positive. Speaking of which…

Vodafone: Shares also get upgraded to Overweight from Equal Weight at Evercore.

Weatherford (NYSE:WFT): The oil services name is now Outperform from Neutral at Credit Suisse.

Wendy's (NASDAQ:WEN): The fast food firm is hoisted to Hold from Underweight at KeyBanc Capital Markets.

(See also: Stock Downgrades: Bitter Pill for Vitamin Shoppe and New Stock Coverage: Urban Outfitters Boosted by Socks and the City.)
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