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Stock Upgrades: Merck Nursed Back to Health


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

MINYANVILLE ORIGINAL Levi Strauss, which made its own fortunes in the California gold rush of 1849, announced a 37% plunge in quarterly profit. The company thus suffers along with the Golden State. Yes, California can still count on entrepreneurs like the Kardashians yet there's trouble there, too. What's a multi-millionaire coupon lady like Kourtney to do when she can't sell her baby pictures for much more than a pittance, and Groupon (GRPN) itself has just gapped down 6.50% to a new low?

Its future a lot less bright, Pacific Sunwear of California (PSUN) retreated 7.32% but the iconic trenchcoats of Burberry (BURBY), based in rainy Britain, were unable to prevent its investors from taking a bath either. Shares slumped 6.91%, which is no way to pay the salaries of its blue-blood spokespeople like Rosie Huntington-Whiteley. Adding insult to injury for the proud check-patterned firm founded in 1856, the check was assuredly in the mail over at ugly American upstart Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF), which jumped 4.12%.

Today's earnings announcements are expected to include AngioDynamics (ANGO), Fastenal (FAST), and Infosys (INFY).

Chevron (CVX): The oil giant, a Dow member, gets moved to Neutral from Underperform at JPMorgan, which maintains its $120 target.

Disney (DIS): Fellow Dow component DIS is upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform with Wells Fargo as it believes consensus estimates are too low.

Merck (MRK): The drug stock, also in the blue chip index, is boosted to Buy from Neutral at Citigroup as its osteoporosis product Odanacatib drug "represents the most important asset in [their] troika of new oral primary care opportunities…"

Akzo Nobel (AKZOY): Shares are upgraded to Overweight from Neutral at HSBC Securities.

AMC Networks (AMCX): The company is moved to Overweight from Equal Weight at Barclays.

ONEOK (OKE): Shares are boosted to Outperform from Market Perform by BMO Capital.

Solar stocks: Canadian Solar (CSIQ) and SunPower (SPWR) are each now Overweight from Neutral at Piper Jaffray.

(See also: New Stock Coverage: Dollars in Donuts at Dunkin' and Stock Downgrades: Smithfield Foods Can't Keep Up With The Joneses.)
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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