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New Stock Coverage: Monro Muffler Can't Catch a Break

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

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MINYANVILLE ORIGINAL As a wit once said, "after Monday and Tuesday, even the calendar says W. T. F." Stellar successive sessions to start the week were followed by a decidedly humdrum Hump Day, with Dow Industrials (^DJI) advancing all of 5.22 points and the S&P 500 Index (^GSPC) 5.99. (Neither exactly equal to Mitt Romney's five point plan, but both close enough for government work.) Blue chips have nonetheless now bagged gains for four straight sessions, a feat made all the more impressive by yesterday's desultory action in International Business Machines (IBM). Big Blue dropped 4.91% after iffy earnings and dual downgrades. The company came on the scene in 1911, along with Ronald Reagan. He was famously known as the "Teflon president," to which nothing negative ever stuck, and if the current GOP nominee is more like Velcro after his "binders full of women" blunder, that did no damage to shares of Trapper Keeper owner ACCO Brands (ACCO), which jumped 2.16%. Ronnie once famously saved 77 from drowning in the Rock River, and as a peerless job creator and ex-Golden State governor he would have been happy to see the rehiring of 14 lifeguards in California. Alas fish and chips both remained underwater, with Pearson (PSO) - publisher of the salmon colored Financial Times - falling 1.79% and semiconductor stock Intel (INTC) imploding 2.51%.

This morning in economics, September Leading Indicators and October's Philadelphia Fed Index are each expected to show improvement at 10:00 a.m. Eastern. It's another frenetic day for third quarter earnings, with Google (GOOG), Microsoft (MSFT), Nokia (NOK), Travelers (TRV), and Verizon (VZ) among a battery of big names due to report results.

Excel Trust (EXL): Shares are begun with a Buy recommendation and $13.50 price objective at Cantor Fitzgerald, which cites both a strong balance sheet and robust acquisition pipeline.

McMoRan Exploration (MMR): The name is a new Buy at Guggenheim, whose price target is $20.

Monro Muffler Brake (NASDAQ:MNRO): ISG Group has a Hold, and $34 target price, on MNRO.

Zillow (Z): Goldman Sachs rolls out Buy rated research with a $47 target price.

(See also: Stock Downgrades: St. Jude Medical Needs a Miracle and Stock Upgrades: Harley Living High on the Hog.)
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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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