Wow, that wasn’t a day for the faint of heart. US stock markets rose to such dizzying heights that even hedge-fund-heavy Michael Steinberg felt obligated to feel a little light-headed
in lower Manhattan. In a neat touch, his afternoon courtroom conviction dovetailed almost exactly with the Dow
(INDEXDJX:.DJI) and S&P 500 Index
(INDEXSP:.INX), each ending at record highs as swooning investors fell hard for equities. On a day when two men with white beards effectively said sayonara
in ceding center stage to Santa — you will be much missed, Mr. Mossberg
— it was Ben Bernanke whose words carried the most weight. In addition to “taper light,” shareholders were encouraged by more robust economic data. This included a 22.7% surge in housing starts, their biggest monthly jump since January 1990. That was the month 30,000 Muscovites braved freezing pre-dawn temperatures as McDonald’s
(NYSE:MCD) opened right next to Red Square. Ah, for those warm and fuzzy final days of the Cold War, when there still was a Soviet Union. That scenario is surely preferable to the Draconian state of affairs Putin’s goons are currently inflicting upon the populace. (In)famous isolationist Henry Ford
(NYSE:F) would have beat a hasty retreat from Moscow, and yesterday, amid all the ebullience elsewhere, the car company cratered 6.29% on more European angst. The “devil’s metal,” which slumped 8.4% last month, further earned its moniker in December as Pan American Silver
(NASDAQ:PAAS) slipped 0.72% even as it received an analyst accolade
. And lottery talk dominated the day. No, not this one
. Rather, one recently held by our Canadian cousins. Its winner just announced he will give away the entire $37 million jackpot
. For Warren Buffett, that’s a day’s pay
In terms of economic events that may move US markets today, December’s Philadelphia Fed Index, along with last month’s leading indicators and existing home sales, all arrive at 10:00 a.m. Eastern. Regarding specific stocks, expect earnings announcements out of Accenture
(NYSE:CAG), Darden Restaurants
(NYSE:DRI), KB Home
(NYSE:NKE), Red Hat
(NYSE:RHT), Tibco Software
(NASDAQ:TIBX), and Worthington Industries
(NASDAQ:AAL): Stock in American Airlines, which just reorganized after a merger, is a new Neutral at UBS.
(NYSE:AXP): SunTrust has a Buy on American Express stock. American Express is an important member of the Dow.
(NASDAQ:BBRY): Beleaguered BlackBerry, whose stock has recently traded to ten-year troughs, is a new Neutral at JP Morgan.
(NYSE:BPL): RBC Capital launches the limited partnership at a Sector Perform. Its price objective is $72 on a stock it says has impressive exposure to crude oil logistics.
(NASDAQ:CHTP): Shares are an Outperform at JMP Securities.
(NYSE:GME): Benchmark Company has a Hold, and $38.55 target price, on the stock.
(NASDAQ:GNMK): Shares get begun with a Buy at Needham.
(NYSE:PVH): The clothing company long known as Phillips-Van Heusen is begun with a Buy and $150 target at Janney.
(NYSE:RL): Ralph Lauren, which, in addition to its eponymous Polo label, also owns Chaps and Club Monaco, is a new Buy at Janney. Its stock price target is $200. Catalysts include an impressive international expansion initiative.
Software Security Stocks
: BMO Capital Markets covers Barracuda Networks
(NYSE:CUDA) at Outperform but is marginally less upbeat on Market Perform-rated Check Point Software
(NYSE:LUV): Shares are assigned a Buy at UBS.
: Dual Dow members AT&T Inc.
(NYSE:T) and Verizon
(NYSE:VZ) are each begun with Buys at Jefferies.
(NYSE:TIF): Stephens starts the bling king at Equal Weight.
(See also: Stock Upgrades: Callaway Golf Fit for a President
and Stock Downgrades: Run From JPMorgan Chase
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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