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New Stock Coverage: Analyst Puts AT&T on Hold


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

MINYANVILLE ORIGINAL They say life begins at 40 but, four decades to the day after the Dow Average (^DJI) first topped 1,000, shares sank for a fifth session in six, sliding to their lowest level since late June and are now down over 1,000 points since the recent peak.

One could claim markets acted not middle aged but instead like moody adolescents, although that description does a disservice to teen clothing company Aéropostale (ARO), which climbed 2.22% on an otherwise dire day. Moreover, the 13-19 age group are notorious for oversleeping in the morning, only to party late. A charge that certainly couldn't be labelled at equities recently, for they have tended to outperform early on while fading at the finish.

Shares accelerated their slump after a first post-election press conference from President Obama, who is so enamored of the first-person singular. Someone should politely point out that there is no "I" in "team." There is, however, an "I" in IAMGOLD (IAG), and that nosedived 19.45% to post the NYSE's poorest performance. And there is very nearly a "Team" in Teavana (TEA), which surged 52.52% after being bought by Starbucks (SBUX) for 620 million bucks.

Today in economics, Philadelphia Fed Index for November is out at 10:00 a.m. Eastern. In earnings action, Ahold (AHONY), Autodesk (ADSK), Buckle Inc. (BKE), Dollar Tree (DLTR), Dell Inc. (DELL), Gap Inc. (GPS), GameStop (GME), Intuit (INTU), Ross Stores (ROST), Sears Holdings (SHLD), Target (TGT), Viacom (VIA), and Wal-Mart (WMT) are all due to report results.

Albemarle (ALB): The specialty chemicals company is covered with an Outperform at Macquarie, whose target price is $68.

Diamondback Energy (FANG): FANG is a fresh Buy at brokerage C.K. Cooper, which issues a $26 price objective on a firm it notes has enjoyed a strong history of drilling success since acquiring its initial properties in 2007.

First Republic Bank (FRC): Shares are a new Overweight at Evercore.

Harman International (HAR): Wells Fargo has a Market Perform on HAR.

Nationstar Mortgage (NSM) The stock is initiated with an Outperform and $30 target at FBR Capital, which feels there could be meaningful upside to earnings estimates.

Orbital Sciences (ORB): ORB is assigned a Buy at Stifel Nicolaus, whose target is $17.

Telecoms: Dual Dow (^DJI) members AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) - Neutral - and Verizon (NYSE:VZ) - Buy - are each picked up at National Securities.

Timken (TKR): SunTrust Robinson Humphrey starts the stock at a Buy.

Westport Innovations (WPRT): Deutsche Bank begins Buy rated research.

WhiteWave Foods (WWAV): The recent spin-off is assigned a Market Perform by BMO Capital.

W.R. Grace (GRA): GRA gets picked up at a Neutral by Macquarie.

(See also: Stock Downgrades: Cutting the Cord on Cablevision and Stock Upgrades: Spirit Airlines Is About to Levitate.)
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