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New Stock Coverage: Don't Expect Discount Brokers to Make You Rich


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

MINYANVILLE ORIGINAL Well it was a good day in the Costanza household, what with Europe officially in a double-dip while Bluegreen Corp. (BXG) - based in the Boca retirement community so beloved of George's father - surged some 55.56% to comfortably top the entire NYSE. There was, however, no Festivus for the rest of us and with the Dow (^DJI) now down for four straight days portfolios everywhere are experiencing a serious shrinkage.

Stocks extended their post-election slump to six sessions out of seven. Indeed the pattern in equities is now so predictably awful that investors would be well advised just to phone or mail it in. That is, had not AT&T, Inc. (T) fallen 1.07% on a lukewarm analyst initiation, and on the very day the Postal Service reported $15.9 billion of red ink. Still, some securities did emerge from the wreckage with good gains, not least Merck (MKGAY) which gained 2.25%. That's the German version, not to be confused with America's Merck (MRK), a 0.58% decliner. Facebook (FB) infamously made that mistake around this time last year although, to judge by its 12.59% jump on Wednesday, it has been forgiven for the flub.

It's a fairly quiet Friday for economic data, but earnings announcements are expected out of Casual Male Retail Group (CMRG), Cyberonics (CYBX), Foot Locker (FL), Hibbett Sports (HIBB), J.M. Smucker (SJM), and London Stock Exchange Group (LDNXF).

Alkermes (ALKS): Mizuho begins Buy rated research, and sets a $27 price target, on the drug delivery firm. Phase III data for ALKS9070 could be a key catalyst for the company.

Allergan (AGN): The Botox maker is begun with a Buy at SunTrust Robinson Humphrey.

Cepheid (CPHD): Shares are begun with a Buy at Mizuho, which issues a price objective of $37. Positives include best-in-class diagnostics and a robust pipeline.

Discount Brokers: Compass Point has lukewarm Neutrals on Charles Schwab (NYSE:SCHW) ($13.50 target price), E*TRADE Financial (NASDAQ:ETFC) ($8.50), and TD Ameritrade (NYSE:AMTD) ($17).

Francesca's (FRAN): FRAN is a fresh Buy with a $30 objective at Canaccord Genuity. A unique business model is seen as driving store expansion.

Javelin Mortgage (JMI): Shares are initiated with an Outperform at JMP Securities.

Medical Stocks: JMP Securities picks up Myriad Genetics (MYGN) at Market Perform and assigns Outperforms on EXACT Sciences (EXAS) and OraSure Technologies (OSUR).

Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX): The name is a new Underperform at brokerage boutique Albert Fried, whose concerns include off balance sheet liabilities.

Oil & Gas Refiners: Imperial Capital assigns In-Lines on Tesoro (TSO) ($41 target) and Valero Energy (VLO) ($33.). It has a more upbeat Outperform rating and $50 objective on HollyFrontier (HFC), which it notes serves more profitable markets in the southwest and Rocky Mountain regions.

Oil Services: MLV & Co has Holds on Halliburton (HAL) and Weatherford (WFT).

Technology Stocks: Wells Fargo rolls out Market Performs on Palo Alto Networks (PANW) and Symantec (SYMC). It starts Outperforms on Check Point Software(CHKP), Fortinet (FTNT), and Sourcefire (FIRE).

Zimmer (ZMH): SunTrust starts Neutral coverage on the medical device maker.

(See also: Stock Upgrades: Casual Friday Suits The Gap Just Fine and Stock Downgrades: Gray Day for JetBlue.)
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