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New Stock Coverage: Magnum Hunter Looks Like a Long Shot

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

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MINYANVILLE ORIGINAL Equities eked out gains, with the Nasdaq (^IXIC) ending up for a fourth straight session, although the lightest volume of 2012 testified to a chronic lack of trading activity. Markets were encouraged as a report from the National Association of Realtors, home of fuzzy math, showed July pending home sales increased by a better-than-expected 2.4%. Bourses were also boosted by a bump up in Q2 Gross Domestic Product to 1.7% according to the Commerce Department. (Still hardly stellar and arguably less reason for relief than the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce denying Kim Kardashian a spot on the Walk of Fame.) World War II allies Italy and Germany publicly disagreed in a week which has brought not one but two reminders that conflict continues to simmer some 67 years later.

Today's earnings announcements are expected to include Bio-Reference Labs (BRLI), Ciena (CIEN), Gazprom (OGZPY), Methode Electronics (MEI), OmniVision Technologies (OVTI), Pernod Ricard (PDRDY), Splunk (SPLK) Gordmans Stores (GMAN), Vivendi (VIVHY), WPP Plc (WPPGY), and Zumiez (ZUMZ).

Aetna (AET): Shares are a new Neutral at Credit Suisse

Alliance Data Systems (ADS): Citigroup starts the stock with a Neutral and assigns a price objective of $146.

Centene (CNC): The stock is covered with a Neutral at Credit Suisse.

Cepheid (CPHD): Cantor Fitzgerald has a Hold and $40 target price. Catalysts, including a competitive menu of diagnostic tests, are already adequately reflected in the current valuation in its view.

Equifax (EFX): EFX is assigned with a Hold at Deutsche Bank, whose target is $47.

Geron Corp (GERN): The biotech is up sharply before this morning's opening bell after being begun with a Buy at Stifel Nicolaus.

Magnum Hunter Resources (MHR): Shares are a new Neutral at Goldman Sachs, whose target is $6.

Natural Resource Partners (NRP): Dahlman Rose launches the limited partnership at a Hold, as coal royalty growth is expected to be constrained by production curtailment in Appalachia.

QR Energy (QRE): Shares are initiated with an Overweight and $21 objective at JPMorgan.

Vertex Pharmaceuticals (VRTX): The company is begun with a Buy at ThinkEquity.

(See also: Stock Upgrades: Pandora Out of the Penalty Box and Stock Downgrades: Hanging Up on Ericsson.)
No positions in stocks mentioned.
The information on this website solely reflects the analysis of or opinion about the performance of securities and financial markets by the writers whose articles appear on the site. The views expressed by the writers are not necessarily the views of Minyanville Media, Inc. or members of its management. Nothing contained on the website is intended to constitute a recommendation or advice addressed to an individual investor or category of investors to purchase, sell or hold any security, or to take any action with respect to the prospective movement of the securities markets or to solicit the purchase or sale of any security. Any investment decisions must be made by the reader either individually or in consultation with his or her investment professional. Minyanville writers and staff may trade or hold positions in securities that are discussed in articles appearing on the website. Writers of articles are required to disclose whether they have a position in any stock or fund discussed in an article, but are not permitted to disclose the size or direction of the position. Nothing on this website is intended to solicit business of any kind for a writer's business or fund. Minyanville management and staff as well as contributing writers will not respond to emails or other communications requesting investment advice.

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