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Stock Upgrades: Potential Rewards of Investing in Mastercard (NYSE:MA)? Priceless

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

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MINYANVILLE ORIGINAL Restoration Hardware filed for an IPO and amid a 24% tumble in annual hardware sales, Oracle (ORCL) slumped 1.59%. The tech titan has quite a history with billboards, so could take some consolation in industry leader Lamar Advertising (LAMR) jumping 6.01%.

Aging Andy Pettitte is back on the mound and long-forgotten Furby is back in toy stores. To complete the 1998-era trifecta, online IPO Trulia (TRLA) -- which hasn't turned in a profit in seven years -- skyrocketed 41.59%.

No top-tier economic data due today, but both Darden Restaurants (DRI) and KB Home (KBH) are expected to announce quarterly results.

Altria (MO): MO is moved to Buy from Neutral at Citigroup.

AutoNation (AN): Bank of America-Merrill Lynch upgrades the name to Buy from Neutral.

ConAgra (CAG): Yesterday's strong performer is now Buy from Neutral at UBS.

Expedia (EXPE): Shares are upgraded to Buy from Hold at Deutsche Bank amid an improving conversion rate. The target is also taken up, to $68 from $51.

LG Display (LPL): LPL is lifted to Buy from Neutral at Bank of America-Merrill.

Mastercard (NYSE:MA): Shares are upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Citigroup, citing stabilizing spending trends.

Molina Healthcare (MOH): MOH is moved to Positive from Neutral at Susquehanna.

Novo Nordisk (NVO): NVO is now Buy from Neutral at UBS.

Paper & Packaging Stocks: Deutsche Bank gives Buy-from-Hold hoists to International Paper (IP), KapStone Paper and Packaging (KS), Packaging Corp of America (PKG), and Rock-Tenn (RKT).

Pearson (PSO): The Financial Times publisher is taken to Outperform from Neutral by BNP Paribas, sending shares up ahead of this morning's opening bell.

Time Warner Cable (TWC): TWC is taken to Overweight from Equal Weight at Evercore.

Wet Seal (WTSLA): Shares are upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Roth Capital.

Zions Bancorp (ZION): ZION is now Neutral from Underperform at Sterne Agee.

(See also: Stock Downgrades: Bad Day for Goodyear (NYSE: GT) and New Stock Coverage: Sea of Green at Blue Nile (NASDAQ:NILE).)
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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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