Upgrades & Downgrades: Hain Celestial Is the Market's Cup of Tea
Wall Street ratings agencies set the tone for today's stock market.
The Dow recovered from the day’s worst levels but still snapped its strongest three-session winning streak since 2009 after Germany, prematurely anointed the best of a bad bunch in Europe, posted paltry Q2 growth of 0.1%. NYSE Euronext (NYX), which has its own Teutonic troubles, tumbled 8.39% for the biggest loss in the S&P 500 Index. Our porn perusing enforcers at the SEC recently proved they really do read Playboy (PLA) for the articles, accusing Hugh Hefner’s son-in-law of insider trading. Rival Penthouse publisher FriendFinder Networks (FFN) was however, to use a $10 German word, in no position to express any Schadenfreude after its own fall of 15.75%. Winners on a down day included Brown-Forman (BF-B), a 1.50% increase posted by the maker of Jack Daniels, the drink which doubles as toothpaste for singer Ke$ha. (Fellow warbler Jessica Simpson, who prefers not to brush at all, may also have partaking of a JD or two if recent appearances are anything to go on.)
Housing starts slipped 1.5% in July but investors bet big on cognitive dissonance by sending Home Depot (HD) shares up 5.28% to pace all blue chips. Weight Watchers International (WTW) advanced 1.67% after the Earth denied our genes are making it look fat. And a 4.4% increase in the U.K.’s consumer price index prompted the Bank of England’s governor, seemingly on a single handed campaign to save Britain’s beleaguered post offices, to write a seventh letter about inflation. It has awoken from a long slumber, but you won’t find the nation’s schoolchildren complaining. Today’s earnings announcements are expected to include Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF), BJ’s Wholesale (BJ), Carlsberg, Deere (DE), Limited Brands (LTD), Staples (SPLS), Target (TGT), and Vestas Wind Systems.
Alcoa (AA): Dow member Alcoa is initiated with a Buy at CRT Capital.
Software Stocks: Salesforce.com (CRM) is begun at an Underperform at Bernstein, which assigns Outperforms on Adobe (ADBE), Citrix Systems (CTXS) and Dow component Microsoft (MSFT).
TiVo (TIVO): TIVO shares are up ahead of the open after being initiated with a Buy at Merriman.
Micromet (MITI): The stock is a new Buy at ThinkEquity.
National Financial Partners (NFP): NFP is a new Outperform at Keefe Bruyette.
LivePerson (LPSN): The stock gets launched with a Buy rating and $16 price target at Ladenburg Thalmann, which cites the growth of the Pay-for-Performance business.
YM BioSciences (YM): YM is initiated with a Buy at Collins Stewart, whose target price on the small cap name is $4.
Healthspring (HS): HS is a fresh Outperform with Wells Fargo.
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