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Stock Upgrades: Light at End of Tunnel for Illumina


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

MINYANVILLE ORIGINAL America's biggest dairy producer Dean Foods (DF) dropped 14.75% on the week but Walgreen (WAG), inventor of the modern milkshake, surged 13% for its best showing in a dozen years. Denver-based Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG) tumbled 21.51% on Friday yet tragic events earlier that day in the same city reminded us how meaningless money ultimately is.

Sears (SHLD) ended the week with a 5.18% slide, the bears marching on its stock both literally and figuratively. Coal company Alpha Natural Resources (ANR) touched a fresh low to take its 12-month loss to 85.47%. Still, that was less painful than a badly botched motivational attempt to walk across the scalding fossil fuel.

No fewer than 175 of the S&P 500 are expected to announce quarterly earnings this week. Today's key Q2 results include African Barrick Gold (ABGLF), Celanese Corp (CE), Hasbro (HAS), McDonald's (MCD), Steel Dynamics (STLD), Texas Instruments (TXN), and VMware (VMW).

Aeropostale (ARO): ARO is upgraded to Overweight from Neutral at Piper Jaffray, which is optimistic on its back-to-school price increase. The target price is taken up by $4, to $24.

Boyd Gaming (BYD): The casino company is now Neutral from Underperform at Sterne Agee amid an increasingly attractive valuation.

Cablevision (CVC): Shares are moved to Buy from Neutral at Bank of America-Merrill Lynch.

CBL & Associates (CBL): Barclays gives an Overweight-from-Equal Weight boost to CBL.

Cypress Semiconductor (CY): Cantor Fitzgerald hoists the stock to Hold from Sell, saying fourth quarter earnings have upside potential.

Excel Maritime (EXM): Global Hunter gives the stock a Neutral-from Reduce upgrade.

Gardner Denver (GDI): Shares, downgraded elsewhere this morning, also score an upgrade. Credit Suisse raises its recommendation to Outperform from Neutral.

GenOn Energy (GEN): GEN gets upgraded to Outperform from Neutral with a $3 price target at Macquarie.

Homebuilders: Goldman adds MDC Holdings (MDC) to its Conviction Buy list, and upgrades KB Home (KBH) to Buy from Neutral. Shares are higher ahead of the opening bell as a result.

Illumina (ILMN): Leerink Swann lifts the stock, which has fallen 42.38% in the past year, to Outperform from Market Perform.

Microsoft (MSFT): The Dow member is moved to Buy from Neutral at Hilliard Lyons.

Mosaic (MOS): MOS is upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Citigroup, which cites the recent rise in corn prices. Its new target is $66, up from $62.

Onyx Pharmaceuticals (ONXX): Shares get upgraded to Buy from Hold at Jefferies.

Schlumberger (SLB): Argus upgrades the oil services outfit to Buy from Hold on account of its impressive execution.

Valero Energy (VLO): The stock is now Buy from Neutral at UBS, whose objective is $26.

Whiting Petroleum (WLL): Shares are now Positive from Neutral at Susquehanna.

(See also: New Stock Coverage: Elan Lacks a Little Panache and Stock Downgrades: Walgreen Unable to Avoid Sea of Red.)
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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