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New Stock Coverage: Amazon 'Sell' Rating Giving Jeff Bezos Kidney Stones


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

Forget about a tale of two cities - last week was a tale of two stock markets. The Dow (INDEXDJX:.DJI) and S&P 500 Index (INDEXSP:.INX) each stood atop historic highs when New York's billionaire Mayor Bloomberg handed off to a man of the people at the stroke of midnight on New Year's Day. Since then, US stock markets have fallen for two straight sessions in their worst start to a year since 2008, back when Lehman Brothers, and not the Everly Brothers, hogged headlines. Will Bill kill the bull? That remains to be seen and, to be fair, Hizzoner enjoyed a far better week than both Bill Gross and Bill Gates. Some stocks did buck a bad tape. Crocs (NASDAQ:CROX) surged some 23%, so maybe naming a crocodile after a communist dictator isn't so awful for capitalism after all. Delta Air Lines (NYSE:DAL) jumped 8.1% to top the entire S&P 500 even as its most iconic plane today reaches the end of the road. Similarly keeping its pedal to the metal across the Atlantic, Italy's Fiat (OTCMKTS:FIATY) rose 16.4%. This after European carmakers advanced 37% in 2013, making them the best performing of all the continent's nineteen industry groups. Didn't they get the memo that no one is driving over there any more? And financial journalism lost an icon named after Adam Smith, the Scottish economist who gave us the phrase "hidden hand." François Hollande sure knows the feeling.

The Senate reconvenes this morning for the first time since its leader Harry Reid was hospitalized for exhaustion in the chamber's final session of last year. (One wonders why, as he certainly wasn't overworked. Indeed the 58 bills passed by our do-nothing Congress in 2013 represented the fewest in its entire history.) Today the august institution returns from recess with a vote on Janet Yellen's nomination to head the Fed as its primary order of business at 5:30 p.m. Eastern. In terms of economic events that may move US markets today, improvements are expected in both factory orders for November 2013 and December 2013's Institute for Supply Management services index, each out at 10:00 a.m. Regarding specific stocks, expect earnings announcements from Calavo Growers (NASDAQ:CVGW), Park Electrochemical (NYSE:PKE), Sonic Corporation (NASDAQ:SONC), and Zep Inc.(NYSE:ZEP). (AMZN): More bad news for Jeff Bazos, just rescued by the Ecuadorian navy after a kidney complaint. Today the Amazon CEO sees his stock started with a "Sell", the four-letter word that never speaks its name on Wall Street, by Standpoint Research.

American International Group (NYSE:AIG): American International Group stock gets reinstated with an Outperform at Credit Suisse.

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (NASDAQ:HMHC): The textbook publisher is picked up at an Outperform with Wells Fargo.

InterActiveCorp (NASDAQ:IACI): Morgan Stanley has an Equal Weight on the owner.

Philip Morris International (NYSE:PM): Tobacco stock Philip Morris International is started with a Sell at Standpoint Research.

Physicians Realty Trust (NYSE:DOC): Shares are an Outperform at JMP Securities, whose price objective is $15.

Scorpio Bulkers (NYSE:SALT): The stock is begun with a Buy and $12 target at Stifel, which lauds the company's leverage to the dry bulk market.

Valero Energy Partners (NYSE:VLP): The limited partnership is launched with an Outperform at RBC Capital, whose objective is $40.

(See also: Stock Upgrades: Baby, It's Cold Outside, but SolarCity Shines and Stock Downgrades: Twitter Bitter About Another Case of the Mondays)
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