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New Stock Coverage: For 2013, Get Into the Habit of Buying Abbott


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

MINYANVILLE ORIGINAL Variety magazine, acquired in October for about $25 million, had a stellar 2012 and it saved the best for last. You see, the Hollywood publication single-handedly popularized the term "cliffhanger" and boy, was there one as last year came to a close. (Its other noted contribution to the lexicon was "Will It Play In Peoria?" and, based on this morning's upgrade of Caterpillar (CAT), indeed it will.) The Senate waited until late on New Year's Eve to pass a fiscal cliff bill by an 89-8 margin. Hours earlier, the equity market, showing its sense of humor, made a previously punk performing Cliffs Natural Resources (CLF) the single best stock on the entire S&P 500 Index (^GSPC). It advanced 8.40%, besting all comers on a spectacular session for equities overall. Unfortunately America's largest egg producer Cal-Maine Foods (CALM) missed out on all the fun, nose-diving 9.54% after announcing iffy earnings. Thankfully, however, it was almost alone in producing such a sad showing; the rest of Wall Street, to paraphrase Variety's immortal formulation following the Crash of '29, didn't Lay An Egg.

Today in economics, the Institute for Supply Management's December manufacturing index is expected to show improvement at 10:00 a.m. Eastern, and we get minutes to the Federal Open Market Committee's December 11-12 policy meeting at 2:00 p.m. In earnings action, Texas Industries (TXI) is due to report results.

Abbott Laboratories (NYSE:ABT): BMO Capital begins Outperform rated research coverage on the medical device maker, assigning it a price objective of $36.

Facebook (FB): The social network, upgraded on Monday, is a new Neutral at Cowen & Company.

Lam Research (LRCX): Shares in the semiconductor stock are started with a Buy at DA Davidson, whose target price is $56. The company can benefit from a number of industry trends over upcoming years, the broker believes.

PolyOne (POL): Jefferies picks up POL with a Buy and $24 target.

Western Gas Equity Partners (WGP): The limited partnership gets launched with an Outperform at RBC Capital, whose objective is $33.

(See also: Stock Upgrades: Bowling Giant Brunswick Out of the Gutter and Looking at the Stars and Stock Downgrades: Skullcandy Suffers Serious Concussion.)
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