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Stock Upgrades: Learning to 'Like' Facebook


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

MINYANVILLE ORIGINAL An icon of 1960s San Francisco flower power sadly passed away, but a trio of Bay Area companies is thriving. Apple (AAPL) rose 4.3% to a record high, Cisco (CSCO) added 8.7% to top the Dow (^DJI) and Gap Inc. (GPS) - upgraded this morning - climbed 5.3% in a replay of its khaki clad 1990s heyday. Alas, that era's Internet bubble isn't returning in tandem.

Yelp Inc. (YELP) slid 16.8%, Groupon (GRPN) 36%, and Facebook (FB) 13% to a fresh low. The latter will especially annoy Jesse Eisenberg. The 1980s, however, are back with a vengeance. Not only are junk bonds enjoying echoes of the Mike Milken era, but Stallone and Schwarzenegger just topped the weekend box office.

It's the start of another relatively quiet week in economic data, but today's earnings announcements are expected to include Corinthian Colleges (COCO), Delia's (DLIA), Fabrinet (FN), Lowe's (LOW), Tuesday Morning (TUES), and Urban Outfitters (URBN).

Facebook (FB): Shares are upgraded to Buy from Hold with a $26 target at Capstone, which cites potential returns from new businesses.

Gap Inc. (GPS): GPS gets upgraded to Hold from Sell at ISI Group.

Granite Construction (GVA): Shares are upgraded to Outperform from Neutral at Macquarie.

Markel Corp. (MKL): MKL is moved to Market Perform from Underperform at Keefe Bruyette.

Prosperity Bancshares (PB): The stock is boosted to Outperform from Market Perform at BMO Capital.

Ross Stores (ROST): Bank of America-Merrill Lynch lifts the stock to Buy from Neutral, sending it up slightly before the opening bell.

Statoil (STO): Shares are upgraded to Top Pick from Sector Perform at RBC Capital amid its strong exploration success. The target is also taken up, by $15 to $175.

(See also: Stock Downgrades: Don't Hoard Up on Public Storage and New Stock Coverage: Vitamin Cottage Can Keep Your Portfolio Healthy.)
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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