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Stock Upgrades: Hospital Stocks Nursed Back to Health


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

MINYANVILLE ORIGINAL The unions suffered a body blow when they failed to recall Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, but at least one of their numbers won the Belmont Stakes. Still, the blue-collar crowd can't hold a candle to the apparently booming private sector, which continues to shrug off the current recession, a description of our economy that is apparently all in the eye of the beholder.

In the run up to Father's Day, Home Depot (HD) appropriately enjoyed the mother of all rallies, up 9.25% to top the Dow. Citigroup (C) rose 9.4%, the pick of a strong bank sector. And no wonder, when the industry's would-be plunders run out of gas in their getaway car. Utterly inexcusable, especially with the latest Lundberg Survey showing prices at the pump plunged a further 15.9 cents to an almost four-month low of only $3.6243 a gallon.

No top-tier economic data due today but Enzo Biochem (ENZ), Finisar (FNSR), Majesco Entertainment (COOL), and Synergetics USA (SURG) are all expected to announce earnings.

McDonald's (MCD): The Dow member is moved to Buy from Outperform at CLSA, which cites attractive valuation despite near-term competitive weakness. Its new price objective is $105.

Atlas Air Worldwide (AAWW): Shares are upgraded to Buy from Hold with a $57 target at Dahlman Rose.

Commercial Metals (CMC): The stock is now Neutral from Sell at Goldman Sachs.

Comstock (CRK): CRK gets upgraded to Buy from Hold at Stifel Nicolaus, whose objective is $19.

Cott Corp (COT): The company gets increased to Sector Outperform from Sector Perform at CIBC World Markets.

Duke Energy (DUK): DUK is now Outperform from Neutral at Credit Suisse.

Gulfport Energy (GPOR): Shares are upgraded to Buy from Hold with a $25 target at Stifel Nicolaus, which cites a clean balance sheet among other attractions.

Hospital stocks: Citigroup gives Buy-from-Hold hoists to HCA Holdings (HCA), Health Management Associates (HMA), Community Health Systems (CYH), Lifepoint Hospitals (LPNT), Universal Health Services (UHS), and Vanguard Health Systems (VHS). It takes Tenet Healthcare (THC) up an unusual 180 degrees, to Buy from Sell.

Henkel (HENKY): Société Générale gives the German consumer goods giant a Buy-from-Hold boost.

Iron Mountain (IRM): IRM is upgraded to Buy from Hold at Stifel Nicolaus.

NVIDIA (NVDA): UBS takes the tech stock to Buy from Neutral.

Skechers USA (SKX): Shares are upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Sterne Agee.

Team Inc (TISI): KeyBanc Capital takes the business services outfit up to Buy from Hold.

Tech stocks: Brocade (BRCD), EMC Corp (EMC), and NetApp (NTAP) all get Buy-from-Hold boosts at Cantor Fitzgerald.

Time Warner (TWX): TWX is upgraded to Market Perform from Underperform by Sanford Bernstein.

TripAdvisor (TRIP): Shares are up before the opening bell on an upgrade by Piper Jaffray to Overweight from Neutral.

Weyerhaeuser (WY): Shares are added to the Conviction Buy list at Goldman Sachs.

(See also: New Stock Coverage: Broadcom Gets a Boost and Stock Downgrades: No Sugar High for Nestle.)
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