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Stock Upgrades: Smooth Sailing for Catamaran Corp.

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

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MINYANVILLE ORIGINAL There were tears for the toddlers of E*TRADE (ETFC) after that stock slid 3.37% but a study said it's OK, babies are allowed to cry. Steve Wynn won $20 million in a slander case against the founder of Girls Gone Wild. The allegations hurt his professional reputation, said the man who once put his elbow through a priceless Picasso.

Nathan's Famous (NATH) tumbled 2.68% but an analyst upgrade enabled Oscar Mayer owner Kraft Foods (KFT) to buck a down day, doubtless delighting fellow Madison native Paul Ryan. The Congressman will, however, be perturbed by suggestions that Harvard students cheated in their "Government 1310: Introduction to Congress" course. Not that either Cliffs Notes or For Dummies were an option at the Ivy institution, especially after corporate parent John Wiley & Sons (JW-A) plunged 4.60% on its earnings announcement.

As for Congress itself, the overworked darlings returned from five weeks of vacation, after which they will toil for 13 days before adjourning again for the election campaign. And American International Group (AIG), whose head knows all about long holidays, tumbled 2.03% after Uncle Sam continued to unwind its position in the insurer.

Today's earnings announcements are expected to include Globecomm Systems (GCOM), R.G. Barry Corp. (DFZ), and United Natural Foods (UNFI).

Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY): The stock gets boosted to Conviction Buy from Buy at Goldman Sachs ahead of catalysts such as the potential Eliquis launch. The target price is also taken up to $40 from $38. Shares are up before today's opening bell as a result.

Catamaran Corp (CTRX): Shares are upgraded to Conviction Buy from Buy at Goldman, which cites relative valuation and synergy opportunities. The price objective is $120.

Corporate Office Properties (OFC): OFC is now Neutral from Underweight at JPMorgan.

Equity Residential (EQR): The REIT is raised to Buy from Hold at ISI Group, whose target is $65.

PacWest Bancorp (PACW): The company is upgraded to Outperform from Neutral at Macquarie.

Synacor (SYNC): Shares are now Neutral from Sell at Citigroup, which is encouraged by stabilizing usage trends.

(See also: New Stock Coverage: Cable Guy Says Buy Comcast and Stock Downgrades: Checks Bouncing at Burberry.)
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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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