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New Stock Coverage: OpenTable Inc Told to Sit in the Corner

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

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The last time Ben Bernanke attempted to answer a high-profile question in public, it did not go well. The Fed head got into a bunch of trouble answering Congressman Kevin Brady's question, and $1 trillion in market share value subsequently evaporated in the next seven weeks. Our central bank chief is clearly a quick study, however, for when the Harvard grad went to back to Cambridge on Wednesday, his much more "accommodative" response was just what the market wanted to hear. The S&P 500 (^GSPC) subsequently advanced to a record in rising for a sixth straight session. Nasdaq (^IXIC), meanwhile, hit its highest level since September 2000, the month Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) released its unloved Windows ME. Bill Gates' baby, having been dead money for a decade, is on the march again. Yesterday a reorganization saw it advance 2.84%, a Dow (^DJI) performance bettered only by Intel's (INTC) 3.18% gain. (This as a resurgent Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) added on another 1.74%, and Dell Inc. (DELL) advances in today's pre-market trading.) Didn't the four horsemen of the PC Apocalypse get the just-released memo that the industry is dying?) Print is also supposedly on its last legs but even a ratings reduction couldn't keep liberal lion The New York Times (NYT) from continuing its impressive recent run. Its rival the Wall Street Journal looks like a paper tiger, however, even if Ms. Didion would tell owner News Corp. (NWSA) - assigned an iffy "Neutral" initiation this morning - to Play It As It Lays.

Today in economics, analysts forecast that the University of Michigan's first take on July consumer confidence will tick up from the final figure for June at 9:55 a.m. Eastern. On the earnings front, announcements are expected out of Infosys (INFY), JPMorgan (JPM), Ocean Power Technologies (OPTT), and Wells Fargo (WFC).

A.T. Cross (ATX): Saying that the company's foray into upscale sunglasses offers promise, Benchmark begins coverage at a Buy. Its target price is $20;

Capital Bank (CBF): The regional financial firm is a fresh Buy at BB&T Capital.

CoreLogic (CLGX): Keefe Bruyette picks up the property and casualty insurance outfit at Outperform.

Dollar General (DG): Goldman Sachs resumes the discount retailer at a Neutral.

FedEx (FDX): FDX is a fresh Buy with a $120 target price at Wunderlich, which expresses optimism over its longer terms prospects in their Express and Freight segments.

Hi-Crush Partners (HCLP): William Blair begins Outperform-rated research on the limited partnership.

Infoblox (BLOX): The business services stock is a new Neutral at Sterne Agee.

Medical Stocks: Valuation concerns cap Robert W. Baird's rating of both Laboratory Corp. (LH) and Quest Diagnostics (DGX) at Neutral. Its respective price objectives at $100 and $58.

News Corp. (NWSA): Bank of America-Merrill Lynch launches Neutral-rated research on Rupert Murdoch's media empire.

OpenTable Inc (OPEN): The online restaurant reservation outfit is resumed with a rather uninspiring Sector Perform rating at RBC Capital Markets, which is troubled by an excessive valuation. Its objective is $72.

ServiceNow (NOW): NOW is a new Strong Buy at Raymond James.

Storage Stocks: SunTrust Robinson Humphrey starts Buys on both Extra Space Storage (EXR) and Sovran Self Storage (SSS).

Yelp, Inc. (YELP): Shares are begun with a Buy at Needham, which sees it exceeding Wall Street's earnings expectations when it reports results on August 1.

(See also: Stock Upgrades: Hormel Foods Corporation Will Make You Like Spamalot and Stock Downgrades: From 42nd Street, Pfizer Inc. Fumes at Wall Street.)
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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