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New Stock Coverage: LinkedIn Really Working Out


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

Blue chips officially entered Bizzaro World on Wednesday, with Dow Industrials (^DJI) ending up 0.4% lead by Boeing (BA) only 24 hours after the index fell 0.4%, dragged down by Boeing. The aerospace outfit added 3.55% after investors were told not to believe every nasty rumor about it. (And the analyst who said so should know, answering as he does to the name of Cai von Rumohr.) Earlier in the week Wall Street's two cents' worth on Bank of America's (BAC) $11.6 billion settlement with Fannie Mae was literally two cents, with the stock ending off $0.02 to $12.09. Alas yesterday's ratings-related reassessment saw it fall 4.59%. The financial firm has largely turned itself into an altruistic non-profit organization over the past few years, although not by choice. But it shouldn't feel blue about it. After all, Apollo Group (APOL) bills itself as a for-profit educator and it slid 7.76% to a fresh low in posting the S&P 500′s (^GSPC) poorest performance. Hedge fund billionaire Dan Loeb has done well with his Ivy League education, and he just helped send Herbalife (HLF) up 4.17%. Dan's great-aunt, Ruth Handler, invented the Barbie doll and co-founded Mattel (MAT), which itself rose 3.11% after upbeat chatter. The prospect of plastic wasn't quite so fantastic for Apple (AAPL), which fell 1.56% on the iPhone's sixth anniversary. Facebook (FB) said long ago it isn't interested in a phone but clearly no one was listening to Mark Zuckerberg. The stock jumped 5.26% on speculation it will unveil one at a media event on January 15.

Today in economics, November wholesale trade inventories are expected to tick up slightly at 10:00 a.m. Eastern. Earnings activity sees Emmis Communications (EMMS), MSC Industrial Direct (MSM), Supervalu (SVU), Synnex (SNX), Washington Federal (WAFD), and Xyratex (XRTX) all release results.

ADT Corp (ADT): Shares are assigned an Outperform by William Blair.

Capital Senior Living (CSU): Imperial Capital covers CSU at Outperform and assigns a $24 price objective amid evidence that pent-up demand continues to propel occupancy rate increases.

Insurance Sector: AFLAC (AFL), Hartford Financial (HIG), and Prudential (PRU) are all begun with Buys at Citigroup, which has new Neutrals on Lincoln National (LNC), MetLife (MET), Principal Financial (PFG), Reinsurance Group of America (RGA), Torchmark (TMK), and Unum Group (UNM).

Intuit (INTU): The TurboTax owner is assigned a Market Perform with Wells Fargo, which sees fair value in the range of $60 to $62.

LinkedIn (NYSE:LNKD): Crédit Agricole launches Outperform rated research on the recently surging professional networking stock.

Oil Services: Société Générale has a Hold on Rowan (RDC) and resumes Buys on both Ensco (ESV) and Noble (NE).

Olin Corp. (OLN): Saying the shares will struggle to outperform absent an improvement in the chlorine market, Dahlman Rose has a Hold on OLN.

WhiteWave Foods (WWAV): Credit Suisse covers the company at Outperform, assigning a $19 price objective.

(See also: Stock Downgrades: AIG Told to Take a Hike and Stock Upgrades: Delta Airlines Flying High.)
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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