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New Stock Coverage: Mattress Firm Holding Set to Sleep With the Fishes?

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

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A 111-year-old wooden escalator might seem a slightly archaic way of moving equities to all-time highs, but yesterday it did just fine for Macy's (NYSE:M). Its stock surged 9.39% to top all S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) issues on a day that both the index and Dow Industrials (INDEXDJX:.DJI) each reached fresh peaks. (US markets were also carried skyward on the wings of a dove.) With stocks heading north in a hurry, Canada's own Lululemon Athletica (NASDAQ:LULU) advanced 3.03% on a broker boost. Its Vancouver-born CEO Chip Wilson remains incredibly controversial, however, and - unlike countryman Rob Ford - can't even blame being drunk and on crack for his increasingly inane comments. Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) stock rose 4.52% amid news it tried to buy Snapchat, so beloved of furtive adolescents. (And post-menopausal German politicians petrified about privacy, although in Angela Merkel's case "POS" refers to "Potential Obama Snooping" as opposed to "Parent Over Shoulder".) Elsewhere, Gisele Bundchen continues to out-earn her hubbie, but it must now be a mighty close-run thing. This as a rating reduction sent the supermodel's Banco do Brasil (OTCMKTS:BDORY) down 0.85% on a day Tom Brady's Ugg boots kicked into high gear, with Deckers Outdoor (NASDAQ:DECK) jumping another 5.49% to a new best.

In terms of events that may move US markets this morning, the confirmation hearing for Janet Yellen to head the Fed commences at 10:00 a.m. Eastern. Regarding specific stocks, expect earnings announcements out of Agilent (NYSE:A), Applied Materials (NASDAQ:AMAT), Burberry (OTCMKTS:BURBY), Helmerich & Payne (NYSE:HP), Kohl's Corp (NYSE:KSS), Manchester United (NYSE:MANU), Merck KGaA (OTCMKTS:MKGAY), Nordstrom (NYSE:JWN), Tyco (NYSE:TYC), Viacom (NASDAQ:VIAB), Vivendi (OTCMKTS:VIVHY), and Wal-Mart Stores (NYSE:WMT).

Bright Horizons (NYSE:BFAM): Wells Fargo starts the starts the stock at Outperform.

Burlington Stores (NYSE:BURL): Burlington Stores, owner of the eponymous Coat Factory, is begun with an upbeat Outperform at BMO Capital, whose price objective is $33. Bank of America-Merrill Lynch assigns an equally bullish Buy on Burlington Stores, a recent initial public offering.

Echo Global Logistics (NASDAQ:ECHO): Cowen covers the company with an Outperform. Its target price is $23 on a stock it says may benefit from acquisition activity among transportation brokers.

Essent Group (NYSE:ESNT): The mortgage investment outfit is an Outperform at JMP Securities, whose objective is $25.

Heritage Oaks Bancorp (NASDAQ:HEOP): Keefe Bruyette has an Outperform, and $9 target, on HEOP.

Mattress Firm Holding Corp (NASDAQ:MFRM): Mattress Firm Holding Corp, up 1.68% yesterday, is today launched with a squishy Neutral at Longbow. Over the past 12 months, Mattress Firm Holding Corp stock is up 21.02%

Oil Stocks: BP Plc (NYSE:BP) is a new Neutral at Credit Suisse, which rates rival Royal Dutch Shell (NYSE:RDS.A) an Outperform.

SanDisk (NASDAQ:SNDK): Brokerage boutique Drexel Hamilton starts SanDisk at a Buy. Since November 2012, SanDisk stock is up an extremely impressive 72.74%.

(See also: Stock Upgrades: Sony Shows Why It's Good to Be George Clooney and Stock Downgrades: Cisco Systems on Route to Ruin)

No positions in stocks mentioned.
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