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Stock Upgrades: Kraft Is the Big Cheese


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

MINYANVILLE ORIGINAL Facebook (FB), home of the hoodie, imploded 11%, and UBS AG (UBS), whose formal dress codes run to 43 pages, blamed its $356 loss on the badly botched IPO of Mark Zuckerberg. The Swiss bank, which knows all about suits, is now reading a lawsuit for Nasdaq (^IXIC).

FarmVille developer Zynga (ZNGA) fell to an all-time low on Friday, but there was better news over on the real thing. Maize, having jumped 27% in July, began August as corny as ever after Mexico bought a record 1.5 million tons of the crop. Berkshire Hathaway (BRK-A), based in the breadbasket of Omaha, rose to a fresh 52-week peak after its cash hoard increased 7.5% to $40.7 billion. With North Dakota boasting the nation's lowest unemployment rate and Nebraska not far behind, it's no wonder agriculture is America's hottest new major. (Just don't make a farmer mad, for those fields of dreams aren't as idyllic as one would think.)

No top-tier economic data is due today, but quarterly earnings announcements are expected out of AES Corp. (AES), BroadSoft (BSFT), (CYOU), Horsehead Holding (ZINC),McDermott International (MDR), Nippon Telegraph and Telephone (NTT), Plains All American (PAA), Tyson Foods (TSN), and Vornado Realty Trust(VNO).

Allianz (AZSEY): Shares are upgraded to Overweight from Neutral at JPMorgan.

American Water Works (AWK): The stock gets raised to Outperform from Neutral at Robert W. Baird.

Arris (ARRS): ARRS is upgraded to Buy from Hold at Jefferies.

Ashford Hospitality Trust (AHT): Shares are upgraded to Perform from Underperform at FBR Capital, which also increases its price objective by $2 to $9 from.

Beazer Homes (BZH): BZH is moved to Market Perform from Underperform with Wells Fargo.

Callidus Software (CALD): Shares are upgraded to Buy from Neutral at brokerage boutique B. Riley.

CreXus Investment (CXE): CXE is upgraded to Market Perform from Underperform at FBR Capital.

CSR plc (CSRE): The stock is now Neutral from Sell at Citigroup.

Curtiss-Wright (CW): CW is upgraded to Buy from Hold at Capstone.

Endologix (ELGX): Lazard lifts the stock to Buy from Neutral.

MicroStrategy (MSTR): Encouraged by the company's 10-Q disclosure of increased bookings, First Analysis moves MSTR to Equal Weight from Underweight.

North Valley Bancorp (NOVB): NOVB is now Outperform from Perform at Raymond James.

Kraft Foods (KFT): The Dow (^DJI) member is upgraded to Buy from Hold at Jefferies, which is heartened by the company's break-up timeline and business trends. The target is also taken up by $7, to $48.

Questcor Pharmaceuticals (QCOR): Shares are upgraded to Buy from Neutral at SunTrust.

Redwood Trust (RWT): RWT is upgraded to Buy from Hold with Wunderlich.

Regions Financial (RF): Shares get a Buy-from-Neutral boost at Bank of America-Merrill Lynch.

Sappi Limited (SPP): SPP is upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Citigroup.

Wal-Mart (WMT): The Dow member is now Buy from Hold at Stifel Nicolaus amid indications of increased consumer store visits.

WellCare Group (WCG): Shares are up before the bell on an upgrade to Positive from Neutral at Susquehanna.

(See also: Stock Downgrades: Martin Midstream Is Up a Creek and New Stock Coverage: Apollo Residential Going to Pluto?)
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