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Stock Upgrades: Facebook Finally Finds a Friend


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

MINYANVILLE ORIGINAL Coals-to-Newcastle proved a profitable approach, with Arch Coal (ACI) ending up 6.18% and Newcastle Investment (NCT) advancing 5.41%. Homebuilders, however, endured an even worse day than the House of Morgan (JPM), paced by a 3.41% downgrade-related plunge in PulteGroup (PHM).

General contractor Chicago Bridge & Iron (CBI) imploded 14.15%, but wily old Windy City pol President Obama may have actually been correct in telling America "You didn't build that" - the company is, after all, headquartered in Holland. Mexican cement giant Cemex (CX) gave up 3.49% on the anniversary of the disappearance of Jimmy Hoffa, by all accounts currently residing in concrete.

This morning, the July Chicago Purchasing Managers' Index is out at 9:45 a.m. Eastern, and this month's consumer sentiment survey from the Conference Board arrives at 10:00 a.m. Sixteen percent of S&P 500 companies report earnings this week, with today's announcements expected to include Aetna (AET), BP Plc (BP), Discovery Communications (DISCA), Fiat (FIATY), Honda (HMC), Panasonic (PC), Pfizer (PFE), and Thomson Reuters (TRI).

Air France-KLM (AFLYY): The air carrier is upgraded to Hold from Sell at Deutsche Bank.

BroadSoft (BSFT): Goldman Sachs gives the stock a Buy-from-Neutral boost, citing an attractive valuation and its defensive high-margin software model. Its price target is $31.

Concho Resources (CXO): Shares are upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform with Wells Fargo.

Daimler (DDAIF): The German auto giant gets upgraded to Equal-Weight from Underweight by Barclays.

Facebook (FB): The social network, which yesterday closed at a fresh post-IPO low, is upgraded to Market Perform from Underperform by Sanford Bernstein. Its target is trimmed by $2 however, to $23. Shares are up slightly in pre-market activity this morning.

Grupo Televisa (TV): The Mexican media outfit gets moved to Neutral from Sell at Goldman Sachs.

Hudson City Bancorp (HCBK): Guggenheim gives HCBK a Buy-from-Neutral hoist as it expects earnings to bottom in the third quarter.

Luminex (LMNX): LMNX gets lifted to Neutral from Underweight at Piper Jaffray.

Meridian Bioscience (VIVO): Shares are now Neutral from Underperform with Wedbush.

Nanosphere (NSPH): The small cap stock is now Overweight from Neutral at Piper Jaffray, which doubles its target to $4.

Sprint (S): Encouraged by iPhone customer retention, Atlantic Equities upgrades the equity to Overweight from Neutral. The target is also taken to $6 from $2.60.

Total SA (TOT): The French oil firm is taken to Neutral from Reduce at Nomura.

USANA (USNA): Shares are boosted to Buy from Hold at Canaccord Genuity.

(See also: Stock Downgrades: Analyst Tires of Michelin and New Stock Coverage: Warm Welcome for Hot Topic.)
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