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Stock Upgrades: Standard Chartered Out of Sin Bin?


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

MINYANVILLE ORIGINAL Hershey (HSY) hit the highest level in its illustrious history, even as its chocolate syrup was strangely not deemed a health food by Uncle Sam. Congress had earlier designated pizza a vegetable, of course, but a fat lot of good that did Domino's (DPZ), which declined on an analyst downgrade.

Today's quarterly earnings announcements are expected to include Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF), Cisco Systems (CSCO), Deere (DE), Hot Topic (HOTT), Limited Brands (LTD), PetSmart (PETM), Staples (SPLS), Target (TGT), and Unwired Planet (UPIP).

Cooper Cos. (COO): Shares are upgraded to Overweight from Neutral at JPMorgan.

Jive Software (JIVE): JIVE gets upgraded to Outperform from Neutral at Robert W. Baird, whose price objective is $21. They say the company is an attractive acquisition candidate.

Merck KGaA (MKGAY): The German giant gets upgraded to Neutral from Underweight at JPMorgan.

Peregrine Pharmaceuticals (PPHM): Shares are added to the Focus List at Roth Capital.

Plains All American (PAA): Citing strong operating results and attractive organic growth projects, Global Hunter hoists PAA to Buy from Accumulate and takes its target up by $10 to $94.

Shire plc (SHPG): Shares of the British biopharmaceutical firm are boosted to Overweight from Equal Weight by Barclays.

Standard Chartered (SCBFF): Bank of America-Merrill Lynch lifts its fellow financial firm to Buy from Neutral following the $340 million settlement with U.S. regulators over its Iran transactions.

Starbucks (SBUX): The coffee company is added to the US Focus List at Credit Suisse.

Steiner Leisure (STNR): The Bahamas-based spa provider is increased to Overweight from Equal Weight with a $57 objective at Stephens, which sees upside potential to 2013 earnings.

(See also: New Stock Coverage: Joy Global Is All Smiles and Stock Downgrades: Throwing the Book at Barnes & Noble.)
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