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New Stock Coverage: No Need for Any Microsoft Envy at Apple


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

A day after the Chair in the chair appeared to be flying by the seat of her pantsuit, stocks scored a standing ovation. (Although Russian President Putin, accorded an identical accolade earlier in the week, could still spoil the party.) Dow Industrials (INDEXDJX:.DJI) bounced back strongly as equities took their cue, appropriately enough, from a 9.30% jump in Herman Miller (NASDAQ:MLHR), whose iconic Aeron office chair is clearly back in business. As winter -- apparently the eighth warmest ever, although no one here in New York is buying that -- officially ended, fair-weather friends were everywhere. Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) found itself "defriended" after falling 1.86%, and eBay Inc. (NASDAQ:EBAY), off another 0.31%, has had quite enough of PayPal after another assault from Carl Icahn, who is famous for saying, "On Wall Street, if you want a friend, get a dog." Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) tumbled 2.19% after unveiling a "first tweets" feature. And what an ironic inaugural entry President Putin's proved to be. Where Russia is concerned, we were friends in World War Two, enemies in the Cold War, best buddies again, and now frenemies once more. As Lord Palmerston once opined: "We have no eternal allies, and we have no perpetual enemies. Only interests." That goes in business, too. Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), which yesterday advanced another 2.70%, saved its erstwhile nemesis Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) from bankruptcy in 1997, a move it quickly came to regret. Now the two tech titans are only too happy to be renewing auld acquaintances.
There won't be any top-tier economic reports released today, but quadruple-witching sessions rarely lack action. On the corporate front, Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI) and Tiffany (NYSE:TIF) each announced earnings earlier this morning.
Apple: The stock, in a surging Microsoft's shadow this week, can console itself by being assigned an upbeat Outperform at Macquarie. Shares are up slightly before the opening bell as a result.
Cardiovascular Systems (NASDAQ:CSII): Needham has a new Neutral on the medical appliance name.
Digital Cinema Destinations (NASDAQ:DCIN): Shares are started with a Speculative Buy at Benchmark Co.
Hillshire Brands (NYSE:HSH): The company, which owns both Ball Park franks and Sara Lee brands, is covered at Equal Weight by Stephens.
Primo Water (NASDAQ:PRMW): Boutique broker B. Riley resumes Buy-rated research after yesterday's 7.32% stock-price surge.
Volcano Corp (NASDAQ:VOLC): Needham has a Hold on the equity.

Also see:

Stock Upgrades: Goldman Sachs Finds Love in an Elevator

Stock Downgrades: The Bill Just Came Due for Herbalife

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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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