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Stock Upgrades: Wall Street Does a Total About-Face on Facebook Inc


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

A blockbuster bra deal gave neither equities a lift nor prevented a "sag" in bonds. Stocks ended broadly lower, despite the best efforts of intimate apparel maker Maidenform Brands (MFB). It jumped an NYSE-best 22.37% after being bought by Hanesbrands (HBI), whose iconic "Hello Boys" Wonderbra ad is probably responsible for more auto accidents than any highway billboard offering in history. Henry, however, was one man able to keep his eyes admirably on the road, as his Ford (F) gained 2.54% to a 36-month best. Women are, of course, more cerebral and generally less visual creatures than us guys. They often like their partners to get all policy wonky on them, as with Anthony Weiner's lady friend who said "Your health care rants were a huge turn-on." Hey, whatever floats your boat. Especially after pharmaceutical firm and Humalog (no relation to Ms. Abedin) maker Eli Lilly (LLY) promptly gained 3.06%.

It's another frenetic session for earnings announcements, with Amazon (AMZN), Bristol-Myers (BMY), Colgate-Palmolive (CL), Credit Suisse (CS), Dunkin' Brands (DNKN), General Motors (GM), LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton (LVMUY), 3M Company (MMM), Sirius XM Radio (SIRI), Starbucks (SBUX), Under Armour (UA), Unilever (UN), and Zynga (ZNGA) all due to report results.

Allstate (ALL): The insurance firm is increased to Outperform from Sector Perform at RBC Capital. (BIDU): Crédit Agricole upgrades the "Google (GOOG) of China" to Buy from Underperform.

Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY): Shares get an Outperform-from-Perform upgrade at Oppenheimer. Its target price also increases, to $92 from $71, amid an easing in near-term pressures ease and solid underlying sales.

Delta Air Lines (DAL): DAL is upgraded to Equal Weight from Underweight at Evercore.

Facebook Inc (FB): The social networking name, currently surging some 23.92% ahead of the open after its Q2 earnings beat Street estimates, is now Neutral from Sell at BTIG. Evercore (Overweight from Equal Weight) and JMP Securities (Outperform from Perform) add to today's love-fest. All three analysts are especially encouraged by unexpected strength in the company's mobile business.

F5 Networks (FFIV): Shares are now Outperform from Perform at Northland, which also increases its price objective by $18 to $98 after a solid set of results.

Hanesbrands (HBI): The underwear outfit, fresh from its $547.6 million acquisition of Maidenform Brands (MFB), gets upgraded to Buy from Neutral at ISI Group.

Northrop Grumman (NOC): The resurgent aerospace name is lifted to Neutral from Underperform at Bank of America-Merrill Lynch.

Sands China (SCHYY): Shares are hoisted to Buy from Hold at Jefferies.

Sherwin-Williams (SHW): The paint name is now Buy from Hold at Northcoast.

TrueBlue (TBI): TBI is taken to Outperform from Market Perform by BMO Capital.

(See also: Stock Downgrades: Caterpillar Inc. Is Sent to the Doghouse and New Stock Coverage: The Check Is in the Mail at Aeropostale Inc.)
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