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Stock Upgrades: Viacom Enjoys View From Jersey Shore

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

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MINYANVILLE ORIGINAL On the 35th anniversary of Elvis' passing, there was Heartbreak Hotel for Red Lion Hotels (RLH), which slumped 1.67% on an otherwise up day. (At least its accommodation requires no additional assembly.) The king of rock and roll, whose specialty recipes included Cheeseburger Meatloaf and Cheese Sauce, will have been troubled by a 2.08% tumble in Burger King (BKW). Shares of the high-calorie company imploded after being assigned an ironic rating of "Equal Weight" by an equity analyst.

Today in economics, the University of Michigan's preliminary consumer sentiment survey for August is out at 9:55 a.m. Eastern, with July leading indicators arriving at 10:00 a.m. In earnings action, Ann Inc. (ANN), Casual Male Retail Group (CMRG), Foot Locker (FL), Hibbett Sports (HIBB), JM Smucker (SJM), and Kirkland's (KIRK) are all due to report results.

Brocade (BRCD): BRCD is boosted to Sector Perform from Underperform at Pacific Crest.

Cabot Oil & Gas (COG): JPMorgan moves the stock to Overweight from Neutral.

Ceradyne (CRDN): Citing potential margin expansion, ThinkEquity raises its rating to Buy from Hold. Its target is hoisted to $28 from $22.

Credicorp (BAP): Shares get an Overweight-from-Neutral boost by JPMorgan.

GT Advanced Technologies (GTAT): GTAT gets upgraded to Buy from Hold at Canaccord Genuity.

Idenix (IDIX): Shares are surging before the bell on an upgrade to Hold from Sell at Brean Murray.

KCAP Financial (KCAP): The company is upgraded to Buy from Hold at Stifel Nicolaus.

Meadowbrook Insurance (MIG): The small cap is moved to Outperform from Market Perform at FBR Capital, whose target is $10.

Medtronic (MDT): MDT is upgraded to Buy from Hold at Argus on account of market share gains in both implantable defibrillators and coronary stents. The target is $48.

Viacom (VIA): The MTV owner, home to Jersey Shore's Snooki & Co, gets upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform with Wells Fargo. Easing ratings and ad revenue comparisons over upcoming weeks are cited at the media giant, whose myriad other assets include VH1, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, and Paramount Pictures. The target is also taken up, to $58.

(See also: Stock Downgrades: Nobel Biocare Not Winning Any Prizes and New Stock Coverage: Doughnuts-to-Dollars for Krispy Kreme.)
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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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