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New Stock Coverage: April Showers May Bring Flowers Foods

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

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After the torrential rains that ended April in much of America, an analyst brings forth Flowers Foods (NYSE:FLO) to begin the very merry month of May. The packaged bakery giant, whose brands include Wonder Bread and Tastykake, gets picked up with a bullish buy rating. Shares in the company, which first arrived on many investors' radar screens during the bidding war for Hostess Twinkies, have fallen 4.44% in the past 12 months. Commodity costs are a constant concern -- food inflation jumped 1.7% on an annual basis in March -- but the stock did advance an impressive 1.84% on Wednesday.
 
Lena Dunham, the best known of all those Brooklyn Girls, took time out in the middle of T.S. Eliot's "cruelest month" to warn us on Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) that April looked incredibly ominous. While the microblogging service, having just imploded 8.56%, could certainly use the attention, Ms. Dunham was well wide of the mark. Indeed, Dow Industrials (INDEXDJX:.DJI) ended the month by setting their first record of 2014, thanks to market-friendly comments from that other famous Brooklynite, Janet Yellen. Yesterday a broker boost helped Michael Kors (NYSE:KORS) end up an even 1.00%. The firm was founded in 1981, a singularly iconic year for fashion that also saw the establishment of Guess (NYSE:GE) and, across the Atlantic, global attention for shy Di's royal wedding dress. That was also the year Brooke Shields memorably told us "Nothing comes between me and my Calvins," but anyone who felt that would spell the death knell for the underwear industry was sadly mistaken. Yesterday, tighty-whities titan Hanesbrands (NYSE:HBI) hit the highest level in its history, and Energizer (NYSE:ENR), which also sells intimate apparel in addition to batteries, advanced 14.31%.
 
The heaviest earnings day of the week is here, with the likes of ExxonMobil (NYSE:XOM), Expedia (NASDAQ:EXPE), and LinkedIn (NYSE:LNKD) all due to release results.
 
Now let's turn to this morning's new stock coverage, a list that includes Snoopy's favorite stock, in addition to Flowers Foods.

Flowers Foods: Today's headline stock is assigned an upbeat Outperform at Imperial Capital.
 
MetLife (NYSE:MET): Keefe Bruyette has an Outperform on the insurance outfit long endorsed by Snoopy.
 
Pattern Energy Group (NASDAQ:PEGI): CIBC World Markets covers the company at Outperform. The target price is $31.
 
SLM Corporation (NASDAQ:SLM): The student lender more commonly known as Sallie Mae gets started at Outperform by Credit Suisse. Its price objective is $11.
 
Springleaf Holdings (NYSE:LEAF): Raymond James launches LEAF at Outperform and assigns it a $29 target.
 
Toronto Dominion (NYSE:TD): Canaccord Genuity has a Hold on the Canadian financial firm.
 
Also see:

Stock Upgrades: JetBlue Is the King of Queens

Stock Downgrades: Pepco Holdings Has Lost Its Power
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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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