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Stock Upgrades: Clorox Cleans Up


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

MINYANVILLE ORIGINAL In commodity action, crude oil swooned 17% in May; June's return of J.R. Ewing can't come quick enough. Gold endured its worst May in three decades but at least Goldmember duo Austin Powers and Mini-Me, those lover of lasers, can take comfort in a 38.74% surge in shares of Microvision (MVIS), maker of miniature laser displays. April showers brought a bath for most investors yet Flowers Foods (FLO) added 5.71% yesterday on an analyst upgrade. Gym giant Nautilus (NLS) jumped 2.74% at now stands at a fresh 52-week peak on a day it was revealed exercise may be bad for you. It's a quiet Friday for earnings announcements but in economics April construction spending and May's ISM manufacturing index are each out at 10:00 a.m. Eastern.

ArthroCare (ARTC): ARTC is upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform by brokerage William Blair.

Check Point Software (CHKP): The stock is boosted to Buy from Hold with Wunderlich, which has a $60 target. The recent introduction of a unified R75.4 and GAiA operating system and IPv6 adoption offer two potential catalysts.

Clorox (CLX): The company is upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Citigroup.

First Busey Corp (BUSE): The small cap is upgraded to Market Perform from Underperform at Raymond James.

Lazard (LAZ): Susquehanna lifts LAZ to Neutral from Negative.

Lions Gate Entertainment (LGF): The firm behind both Hunger Games and Mad Men is upgraded to Outperform from Sector Perform at RBC Capital.

Money managers: Blackstone Group (BX) gets upgraded to Conviction Buy from Buy at Goldman given its diversification, valuation, and its strong real estate and alternative credit businesses. Meanwhile Calamos Asset Management (CLMS) is now Neutral from Sell.

Munich Re (MURGY): The German insurance giant gets upgraded to Buy from Neutral at UBS.

Nordstrom (JWN): JWN is now Buy from Neutral at Nomura.

SABMiller plc (SAB.L): Société Générale boosts the brewer to Buy from Hold.

Sprint Nextel (S): Shares are higher ahead of the open on an upgrade to Overweight from Neutral, which cites stable industry pricing and potential M&A.

Tesoro (TSO): TSO is taken to Buy from Neutral at UBS.

Trustmark (TRMK): TRMK gets upgraded to Market Perform from Underperform at Keefe Bruyette.

VMware (VMW): Shares are moved to Buy from Neutral at Mizuho.

Zynga (ZNGA): A second upgrade in as many days for the stock, now Neutral from Underperform at Sterne Agee.

(See also: New Stock Coverage: Fresh Chapter for Facebook? and Stock Downgrades: Kohl's Cools Off.)
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