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Upgrades & Downgrades: Helping Hand for ARM Holdings


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

National Marijuana Day saw stocks take the hint and finish higher on a week for the first time all month. Dow Industrials (^DJI) advanced 1.40% as a generally solid start to earnings season overshadowed ongoing anxiety over Europe. Although pessimists will point out that when both the liberal New York Times Company (NYT) and laissez-faire Wall Street Journal run almost identical same-day stories about the sluggish state of our own economy, market turbulence may not be far away. Microsoft (MSFT) jumped 5.2% on strong sales of Windows, boosted by bankers buying its Excel spreadsheet to keep track of their paramours. In a role reversal, arch rival Apple (AAPL) fell 5.3% and is now down for eight of the past nine sessions. Much more of this and stock in the Cupertino company will start to look indistinguishable from beleaguered Research in Motion (RIMM). This made it an odd time for a Colombian escort, differentiating her services from a simple streetwalker for the Secret Service, to say, "It's like when you buy a BlackBerry or an iPhone. They have a different price."

The Latin lovers of Argentina lead the world in shrinks per capita and the country's therapists certainly earned their coin last week with Buenos Aires-based YPF Sociedad Anonima (YPF) sliding 31%, the worst week in its history coming after trying to nationalize Spanish energy outfit Repsol SA (REPYY), which itself lost 14.6%. Argentine fútbol superstar Lionel Messi, whose last name aptly describes the current state of play between the two countries, didn't cost Spain's Barcelona a dime and may already be the best player in history, but Cristiano Ronaldo - named after arch capitalist Ronald Reagan - had the last word this weekend, the world's most expensive player proving sometimes you do get what you pay for, even if cynics will say: How can a country that is again in recession as of this morning have two sports teams valued at $1,877 billion and $1.307 billion, respectively? And as millions scrambled to pay the IRS, TurboTax owner Intuit (INTU) fell on Friday while the Lockerbie bomber - supposedly at death's door three long years ago - is still with us. Life suddenly seems a lot less certain. No top-tier economic data out this morning but fully one-third of all S&P 500 (^GSPC) companies announce earnings this week, with ConocoPhillips (COP) and Texas Instruments (TXN) among today's notables.


Research in Motion (RIMM): The stock is initiated with a Hold at TD Securities.

CafePress (PRSS): The recent IPO is picked up with an Overweight at JPMorgan.

FactSet Research (FDS): Morgan Stanley has a fresh Equal Weight on FDS.

F5 Networks (FFIV): The tech stock, a strong performer last week, is initiated at Overweight by Morgan Stanley.

Inphi Corp (IPHI): RBC Capital resumes coverage of the semiconductor stock at Outperform.

Nationstar Mortgage (NSM): Shares are begun with a Buy at Citigroup, whose price objective is $18. Wells Fargo has an Outperform, as does Credit Suisse, and shares are begun with a Buy at Bank of America-Merrill Lynch.

Vocera Communications (VCRA): The stock is an Overweight at both Piper Jaffray and JPMorgan.


ARM Holdings (ARMH): The company, which makes chips for the iPad and iPhone, is now Neutral from Underweight at JPMorgan following Friday's steep slide.

AstraZeneca (AZN): AZN is increased to Equal Weight from Underweight by Barclays.

Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria (BBVA): BBVA us upgraded to Neutral from Sell at UBS, though it is downgraded elsewhere this morning.

Banco Santander (STD): Staying in the sector, JPMorgan moves the Spanish financial firm to Overweight from Neutral while Goldman Sachs adds STD to its list of Conviction Buys.

BMC Software (BMC): Shares are upgraded to Positive from Neutral at Susquehanna.

France Telecom (FTE): Nomura takes FTE to Buy from Reduce.

Groupon (GRPN): The troubled stock is today taken to Overweight from Equal Weight at Evercore.

HeartWare (HTWR): Barclays hoists HTWR to Overweight from Equal Weight.

Lions Gate Entertainment (LGF): Caris & Company upgrades the Hunger Games distributor to Above Average from Average following an 18.1% decline in shares.

JAKKS Pacific (JAKK): Saying that the company's board of directors are undertaking action to increase shareholder value, Needham juices its JAKK recommendation to Buy from Hold with a $22 target price.

RLI Corp (RLI): BGB Securities raises its recommendation on the insurance outfit to Hold from Sell.

Royal Bank of Canada (RY): The stock is lifted to Buy from Neutral at Bank of America-Merrill Lynch.

Suncor Energy (SU): BMO Capital boosts the energy firm to Outperform from Market Perform.

Westport Innovations (WPRT): WPRT gets upgraded to Sector Perform from Underperform at CIBC World Markets.

Exxon Mobil (XOM): The Dow member is moved to Outperform from Market Perform at Raymond James.


Abovenet (ABVT): Shares are slashed to Sector Perform from Outperform at RBC Capital.

Achillion Pharmaceuticals (ACHN): The stock, tumbling 10% before the bell, gets downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at JMP Securities following Saturday's release of interim ACH-1625 data at the EASL conference. The brokerage says that the data raised questions and was confusing regarding interim safety and efficacy analysis.

Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria (BBVA): The Spanish bank is removed from the Conviction Buy List at Goldman.

Catalyst Health Solutions (CHSI): Shares are moved to Market Perform from Outperform by BMO Capital.

First Solar (FSLR): Shares are downgraded to Sell from Hold with a $9 target at Maxim Group.

Forward Air (FWRD): FWRD is now Neutral from Outperform at Robert W. Baird, whose price target is $40.

Knology (KNOL): RBC Capital reduces its rating to Sector Perform from Outperform.

Lennar (LEN): The homebuilder is lowered to Fair Value from Buy at CRT Capital.

Matthews International (MATW): Davenport downgrades MATW to Neutral from Buy.

MB Financial (MBFI): MBFI is downgraded to Hold from Buy at Stifel Nicolaus.

Novadaq Technologies (NVDQ): Shares are moved to Market Perform from Outperform at Rodman & Renshaw.

Novo-Nordisk A/S (NVO): The Danish drug stock is now Underweight from Equal Weight at Barclays.

Progressive Corp (PGR): The property and casualty insurance company gets cut to Neutral from Buy at Citigroup.

Rambus (RMBS): RMBS is reduced to Hold from Buy at BWS Financial.
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